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white macaroni and cheese with bacon and kale

This mac and cheese recipe is slightly different from my previous Gourmet Mac ‘n Cheese. I wanted to use up some of the white cheeses that I had stacking up from my CSA boxes and the fusilli pasta and kale from my most recent box.

I liked this recipe better than my other mac ‘n cheese recipe, I think the bacon is the key. But of course everything is better with bacon, right? I also think the cayenne pepper added a little extra zing that this needed.

You can add some bread crumbs to the top for a crispy crust, but I rather liked it as is. I paired it with some grilled chicken sausages with a sharp German mustard.

white macaroni and cheese with bacon and kale

White Mac n Cheese with Kale and Bacon

(adapted from Good Life Eats )

1 lb. fusilli pasta
3 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces shredded Gouda
4 oz shredded white cheddar
1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
dash nutmeg
dash cayenne pepper, to taste (I probably used 1/2 tsp)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 ounces center cut bacon
3 1/2 ounces fresh kale, chopped

Cook pasta one to two minutes less than package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the bacon pieces in half vertically, then into small bite sized pieces. Cook over medium-high heat in non-stick skillet. Add chopped onions and cook until bacon is crispy and onions are soft. Add garlic and chopped kale. Cook until kale is wilted. Set aside.

In a large French or Dutch oven, 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 gouda and parmesan cheese, whisking until melted and creamy. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper, and salt (if desired). Bring to a slow simmer, and then stir in the pasta, bacon and kale mixture.

Transfer the pasta mixture to a 3 1/2 quart oven safe casserole dish or cast iron pan. Bake at 375 degrees F on the center rack in the oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.