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Hearty Mac and Cheese Strata with Bacon

Recipe: Hearty Mac and Cheese Strata with Bacon

Remarks:

    When you have relatives in town this holiday season here's one more casserole for a crowd. Hearty and certainly not diet conscious but yummy just the same. Enjoy!

Servings:
Serves 4. Can be doubled

Ingredients:

    1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I use the smaller ones if I can find them). You can use macaroni or even penne or rigatoni. (2 cups of noodles)
    2 Tbl butter
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup shallots diced
    1 pound sliced mushrooms (button or exotic)
    1 Tbl white flour
    1/2 tsp dry mustard
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
    3/4 cup grated Emmenthaler cheese or Swiss
    1 1/2 cups grated mild cheddar
    6 slices of bacon
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs made from fresh bread

Instructions:

    Cut the bacon crosswise into small strips. Fry until crisp. You'll have automatic bacon bites. Wipe out the pan. You can now re-use it for your sauté portion of the recipe.

    Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling water. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot.
    Add the milk, flour, mustard, salt, cayenne, worchestershire and the cheese. Stir until well blended.

    While the pasta is cooking....

    In a sauté pan melt the butter and add the shallots and mushrooms.
    Cook on medium high until onions are loose and mushrooms have reduced and are beginning to brown just slightly on the sides.

    Now you're ready to assemble your strata.

    In the bottom of a 9 X 9" oven-proof pan with tall sides, add your mushroom mixture. Then add half of the bacon. Add the mac and cheese mixture. The other half of the bacon and now the bread crumbs.

    Bake the pasta for 30 minutes on 350. The top will be crunchy and the flavor delicious!

Serving Suggestions:

    Serve with a salad....suggestion: romaine, sliced yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes and Caesar dressing.

Enjoy. Cheers! Zola

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