Ahh Monday…we meet again! Does anyone else feel extra lazy on Mondays? I know I do!
Remember when I proclaimed myself to be a foodie-aholic, but then confessed to eating nothing but pizza for half a week? You can read my confession here. Well, I had a list of yums that inspired me to throw away the boxes of pizza (it was tough!) and sentenced myself to the kitchen. I previously made crispy chicken skewers from that list and it was deeeelicious! This time around, I had to make the mac and cheese…quattro formaggio, spinach, and bacon mac and cheese to be exact! This isn’t just your ordinary kiddie mac and cheese (although I’m sure the kids would love it too!), this is macaroni and cheese for us fancy adults! What makes this fancy you ask? Well honestly…I don’t really know, but maybe it’s the spinach and four types of cheeses that makes it fancy? :/
This version of mac and cheese is incredibly simple and easy to make. This whole meal can be done in less than an hour! And did I mention the fact that there are bacon bits in it? That right there is a selling point for you to try!
For a girl that loves bacon, how could you expect her to jump on the Meatless Monday bandwagon? Hope you all enjoy my rendition of Meatless (No Way) Monday! :)
Let’s get started!
Before you start making the sauce to your mac and cheese, get the noodles out of the way!
Kitchen tip: drizzle a little olive oil into the boiling water, it prevents the noodles from clinging onto each other while they’re cooking.
Once the pasta is done cooking…
Now make the bacon bits!
You will need about 6 ounces of bacon for the making of bacon bits…
Once you’ve chopped up your bacon into bits, cook them in a hot sizzling pan…
Cooking the bacon bits takes a couple minutes, so don’t walk away from the stove!
You want to cook them until it’s crispy looking. If you’re not sure (like I was), it’s done when it’s bubbling…
Drain the bacon, and set aside…
Now that the bacon bits are made, work on the sauce for the macaroni and cheese…
To make the roux for the sauce…
Whisk and cook over medium heat until it’s golden…
Then slowly add…
Whisk while cooking over medium heat. Next add 3 ounces of mascarpone cheese…
Then whisk in the cheese! I used Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio Cheese Blend.
Once the sauce is creamy…
Stir and bring the sauce to a slow simmer. While the sauce is simmering…
By now the sauce is done simmering…
Stir well and cook just until heated through…
When you’re ready, scoop a healthy portion onto a plate and sprinkle an unhealthy amount of bacon bits!
Some things I learned while making this:
- Always cook more bacon than necessary.
- Bacon bits are born once it starts splattering all over the place and your face.
- Stop munching on bacon bits otherwise there will not be enough for garnish later.
- Back to point one, more bacon is good.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups of 2% fat-free milk
- 3 ounces mascarpone
- 6 ounces of Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio Cheese Blend (blend includes parmesan, fontina, asiago, and mild provolone cheeses)
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 + extra dashes of cayenne pepper
- 5 strips of apple wood smoked bacon
- 4 ounces fresh baby spinach, chopped
- Cook pasta one to two minutes less than the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
- Cut the bacon strips in half vertically, then into bite-sized pieces. Season with pepper. Cook until crispy. Then drain, and set aside.
- In a pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium heat till golden. Slowly whisk in the milk while cooking over medium heat.
- Stir in the mascarpone cheese, whisking until melted and creamy. Then whisk in the cheese until melted and creamy. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bring it to a slow simmer, and then stir in the pasta and spinach. Cook just until heated through.
- Serve immediately, sprinkling each portion with bacon bits.