Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes, Bacon & Fontina
Pairs Well With
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 pound trennete or other medium tube pasta
8 ounces bacon
2 cups heavy cream
1 28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably Muir Glen brand
1 tablespoon bottled hot pepper sauce, such as Crystal or Tabasco
— Black pepper in a mill
1¼ pounds Monterey jack cheese, shredded or grated
12 ounces Italian fontina, shredded or grated
2 cups Panko bread crumbs, lightly toasted
Fill a large pot two-thirds full with water, add the 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions until it is just al dente. Drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, set a medium skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon until it is just crisp; transfer it to absorbent paper to drain.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the cream, tomatoes and hot sauce. Season the mixture generously with black pepper. Fold in the cheeses, and when the pasta is cooked, add it to the mixture and mix gently but thoroughly.
Pour the pasta mixture into a large, ovenproof casserole. Season the bread crumbs with salt and pepper and spread them on top of the pasta. Cover the casserole tightly with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes more, until the bread crumbs are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Reach chef Michele Anna Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org