Mac & Cheese With Peas & Bacon
Provided by: Tyler Florence
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups warm milk
- 5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 pound elbow macaroni and cook until al dente, about 8 to 9 minutes, and drain. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Gradually whisk in 4 cups warm whole milk. Whisk vigorously, and continue to cook until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in 4 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese and continue stirring until the cheese is melted. Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper, then add cooked macaroni to the pan. Mix well until macaroni is fully coated with the cheese mixture.
- Scrape contents of pan into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle the top with 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
- As the Mac & Cheese is baking, heat a 2-count of olive oil in a saute pan. Add 4 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips, 1 large onion (diced), 2 garlic cloves (smashed), and leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme and cook for about 5 minutes, until onion is softened.
- Fold in 2 cups frozen peas (thawed under cool water), and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove mac & cheese from the oven. Scatter the top of the mac & cheese with the pea and bacon mixture and serve.