Comfort Food Series Part 2: Mac 'N Cheese with Portabello Mushrooms and Bacon

Ahhh comfort food.... Providing comfort during these cold days.  What a perfect time to feature some of my favorite comfort food recipes.  Once a week I will feature a new comfort food during the fall and winter season.  What can you expect? Everything from the classics such as hearty soups and cheesy pastas, to some inventive dishes that I will soon share. Bon Appetit and stay warm!

 

Part 1  featured tomato soup.. so here is part 2:

 

Mac 'N Cheese with Portabello Mushrooms and Bacon

Who doesn't LOVE Mac 'N cheese? I'm pretty sure we've all had some form of this dish.. boxed with a cheese powder, or all out at a gourmet restaurant. Mac 'N Cheese is here to stay, and whether you love the simple, or its more evolved form, it just tastes plain good.

Here is a good old fashioned mac 'n cheese.. but it's all grown up and has bacon and mushrooms as its friends.

  • 1 pound conchiglie pasta, cooked al dente (almost completely soft) plus save 1 ladle pasta water
  • 7 slices bacon
  • 1 cup portabello mushrooms
  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk, 2%
  • 3 cloves finely diced garlic
  • 4 cups shredded fine quality sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons full fat cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Render in large pot for about 8 minutes, not totally crispy.  Add garlic, and milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add milk.  Heat milk thoroughly, then add cream cheese. Stir with whisk until the cream cheese is thoroughly incorporated.  Then, slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, add cheddar cheese, then stir with whisk so it is incorporated.  Continue until you have added all of the cheese. At this point, if the consistency is not as thick as you would like it, add a tablespoon of white flour and stir well.  Continue whisking for a couple of minutes and see how much the mixture thickens. Add more flour if needed.

Add portabello mushrooms, and pasta.  Add half a ladle or so of pasta water. This will help to keep the mixture smooth.

Serve in individual bowls, with some freshly grated old cheddar. Enjoy!

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