©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



Shells and Cheese with Bacon

This is one of the recipes Miss V picked out from her YCA (Young Chefs Academy binder).  She was busy doing homework so I made it.

1/2 pound small dried pasta shells (used medium size)
1/4 pound thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
1/4 medium onion, medium diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoons fresh dijon mustard
dash cayenne, or to taste
pinch nutmeg
2 cups grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese (subbed Swiss)
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (skipped)
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs (used Panko)
2 tablespoons melted butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook shells until al dente and drain.

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a 3- to 4-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.

Heat a heavy large saucepot over medium heat. Add bacon and saute until golden brown. Add onions to pan and cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk gradually and bring to a boil. Simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg and whisk in 3 cups cheddar and 2 cups gruyere. When cheese is melted season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl stir together shells, herbs and sauce and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to prepared dish. In a medium bowl stir together bread crumbs, melted butter and remaining 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup gruyere; season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle cheese breadcrumb mixture evenly over pasta. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Turn oven on broil during last 3 minutes of cooking, if desired, to achieve a deep golden brown color on breadcrumbs. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Makes 4, 1 cup servings. Recipe courtesy of Rocco DiSpirito

I served this with a tossed salad.  It was really good, but very rich.

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