As cold weather sets in, visions of comfort food embrace your thoughts. What is better than home-made, creamy macaroni and cheese with bacon, of course! Oh yes, even when using tea, bacon still makes everything better. Green tea is used in the water you cook your pasta as well as in the milk used for the base of your cheese sauce. In this sniffling, sneezing, coughing, freezing winter; green tea is on the menu tonight.
Preheat oven to 375°
4 quarts water
3 tbsp quality green tea (medium flavored herb notes)
1 lb Tortiglioni or elbow pasta
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
In a large stock pot bring the water to 170°, then steep your tea in it for 2-3 minutes. Make sure to swirl the tea vessel around so the tea permeates all of the water. Remove the tea once steeped and set aside. Bring your water to a boil and then add the sugar and salt; stir to dissolve. Now, add your pasta and cook a few minutes shy of the recommended time. While your pasta water and pasta is being prepped begin cooking your bacon and cheese sauce.
12 oz bacon diced
3 ½ cups milk
In a skillet cook bacon through, then set on a paper towel to drain. Leave about one tablespoon of bacon grease in your skillet and discard the rest.
Heat milk in a large sauce pan to 170° then steep the previously used tea in it for 5 minutes.
3 tbsp butter
10-12 oz of quality sharp cheddar cheese (white or yellow cheese may be used)
1/3 cup flour
1 ½ tbsp dry ground mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp white pepper
1 egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 cup Panko or regular bread crumbs
In a large sauce pan melt the butter and whisk in the flour until combined. Slowly pour in the tea milk while whisking to ensure no lumps are in the sauce. Once combined bring to a boil, allowing the milk mixture to thicken. Whisk in your garlic, paprika, mustard and pepper. Remove from heat, add in the salt and whisk in the cheese until melted. Add in the egg until combined. Gently mix together drained pasta, cheese sauce, and ¾ of the bacon and pour into a greased baking dish. In the skillet with the bacon renderings you will toast the bread crumbs until golden and then sprinkle them and the last ¼ of your bacon over the top of your macaroni and cheese in the baking dish. Now place it in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
This recipe serves 6-8 people.
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