(From the archives.)
My husband’s favourite pasta dish is my Smack & Cheese. I call it that in jest, but when you get this dish just right, you won’t stop eating it, It’s a fantastically horrible addiction.
Very basic ingredients were used like bacon, pasta, onions, butter, diced red peppers, milk, and grated cheddar cheese. Half the bacon went into the creamy roux sauce along with the red peppers as the milk was thickening, and it was all blended with the cheese in a bowl off the heat before serving. That’s it! No magic involved, but it tasted like there was some alchemy involved.
The main thrust of this dish is the bechemel sauce with cheddar cheese added at the very end over pasta. That’s it. Very simple, but very tasty when all is said and done.
Note: I don’t use much in the way of salt for this dish. I let all of the salt that is already present in the cheese, butter and cooked pasta do all the heavy flavour lifting while adding some freshly cracked pepper on top at the table. I also use fresh herbs when my herb garden is flourishing during the summer months.
1. Cook 2C Rotini or any other similar shaped pasta like penne in salted boiling water.
2. Cut 3 Bacon strips in half for frying. Chop coarsely after it cooked and cooled off.
3. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a sauce pot. When it foams up, add about 1 tbsp of oil; swirl it around. Dump in 1/2 C diced white onions and cook down for about five minutes.
Add 2 tbsp flour; whisk in until the butter and onions clump up and the colour starts to turn brown somewhat and the flour cooks a bit.
Add one pile of bacon bits + 1/2 of diced red. Stir to coat a bit. Add 1 1/2C of milk. Whisk to combine the flour and dairy. Stir the pot so the milk doesn’t get scalded or burn on the bottom as it thickens. Taste test. Add a small pinch of salt if needed.
4. Scoop out about 1/3 C of the pasta water for your sauce; set aside. Drain the pasta about 1 minute before it hits al dente. Return the pasta to the same pot off the heat.
5.Grate 2 C of any cheese(s) you have; set it aside.
6. After the milk thickens and coats the back of a spoon, pour the bechamel sauce into the bowl over top of the waiting pasta noodles.
7. Dump the cheese in over the pasta + bechemel. Stir quickly until the cheddar is fully melted and coats the pasta in a lovely amber colour. Use any or all of the reserved pasta starch water to aid the coating process should the bechamel be too thick.
8. Plate your pasta into serving dishes and top with the second pile of bacon bits and some freshly washed and chopped herb of your choice. I love fresh basil or cilantro over my pasta, but go nuts. DH loves to add a few cracks of pepper over his pasta, as well.
This entry was posted on July 8, 2011.