Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tyler's Mac and Cheese with Peas and Bacon

This week for Tyler Florence Fridays, I made Ty's Ultimate Mac and Cheese with Peas and Bacon. It seemed to be a popular dish and hubby loves mac and cheese. I subbed whole wheat elbows in for the mac part but otherwise stayed true to the recipe.
Hubby loved it, I liked it too but have to admit that I am partial to Ina's Grown Up Mac and Cheese. Tyler's would be more kid friendly I think, and it is certainly less expensive to make than Ina's version, but I couldn't help wishing it was more tart or picante or something. I served it with a big salad that had a zingy dressing and that really helped the dish out, I thought.

Tyler's Ultimate Mac and Cheese with Peas and Bacon
Tyler's Ultimate, Tyler Florence


1 pound elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups warm 1% milk
5 1/2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
leaves, from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme (about 1 Tbsp.)
2 cups frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente. Drain.

2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming. Gradually whisk in the milk and, whisking vigorously, cook until mixture is thick and smooth.

3. Stir in 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley to the skillet, and stir to coat. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 11/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

4. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic and thyme and sauté for about 5 minutes to soften the onion, stirring. Fold in peas and season with salt and pepper. To serve, scatter pea-and-bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Top with more cheese, if desired.

I just wanted to throw in this picture of the lilacs that are in bloom in my back yard, I love this time of year! They used to surround the yard but I have one evil tree-hating neighbour who chopped them all down, but I still have two big lilac trees that he couldn't reach. The Lily of the Valley are blooming beneath them and my yard smells divine.

Join us for Tyler Florence Fridays!
Choose, cook, share.
Round-up every Friday, check out the Tyler Florence Fridays site for details.