Who else is ready for Spring? I am so tired of this cold and dreary weather! Today is a snow day for the Northern half of Alabama. All schools and businesses have closed due to the threat of snow and ice. So far we’ve just gotten freezing rain, but I’m still holding out hope for snow later today! Even if it doesn’t snow, it’s been nice having the day at home with my hubby, relaxing in front of the fire. Snow days instantly make me think of hot cocoa and comfort foods. And what’s the most popular comfort food? Mac and Cheese, of course! This dish is a grown up version of Mac and Cheese, but even kids will love it. Because cheese and bacon is sure to please every time.
I’ll be honest, I can’t tell a difference in taste between white cheddar and yellow cheddar. Maybe my palate is not refined enough…or maybe they just really do taste the same. So you can use either, but I definitely think “white cheddar” sounds a little more refined and mature than just plain ol’ “cheese”. This recipe was actually pretty simple and easy to make, but it’s a side dish worthy of a special occasion! Holidays, family gatherings, dinner parties, or just on a snow day…this dish will always be a hit!
- 8 ounces small pasta shells
- 4 slices bacon (or more)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 + 3/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups freshly shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 packed cups baby spinach, stacked and cut into thin ribbons
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook bacon until crispy. Set aside to cool.
- Drain the grease from the pan. Add the butter and melt over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook 1 minute stirring. Slowly add the milk and heavy cream. Turn the heat up and bring to a simmer. Simmer 3 - 4 minutes, stirring often.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the cheddar, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted and then remove from heat.
- Stir in the spinach, Parmesan and drained pasta.
- Crumble bacon and mix in (reserving some to sprinkle on top). Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Source: Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice