Sunday, August 25, 2013

Instead of Kraft, Get Crafty: Skillet Baked Mac with Spinach and Turkey Bacon

You know, I stepped into my kitchen last night just intending to make a sandwich. We indulged in gourmet hot dogs for lunch (duck sausage, yessir) and I wasn't exactly starving.

But a craving that had been bubbling in the back of my head for quite a while now finally boiled over. I needed macaroni and cheese.

I'm fairly proud of the fact that I composed this solely of items I already had on hand. We were running low on milk and I didn't want to complete deplete the supply before morning, so I supplemented the meager milk dose with a 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, which gave the bechamel sauce a thick, creamy texture.

Once I had my mise en place, the cooking process extended at a lovely, leisurely place. The light over my stove. My cast-iron ably sizzling. Bam, turkey bacon! Bam, onions! Whisky-whisky, lil' bechamel sauce. I love this way too much.

Enough chatter. Here lie pictures.


Skillet Baked Mac with Spinach and Turkey Bacon
Serves 4.

8 oz. hollow pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped or torn
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 slices turkey bacon, sliced thinly crosswise
1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion
2 green onions, thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. spinach
1 tablespoon dried dillweed
Smoked paprika

1. Cook pasta, taking a minute or two off of package directions. Drain and run under cold water. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add flour, whisking till smooth. Slowly drizzle in milk, still whisking constantly. Add Greek yogurt and continue to whisk. Once roux is smooth--with milk and yogurt fully incorporated--whisk in Parmesan and 3 oz. mozzarella. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Take off heat and set aside.
3. Place your trusty cast-iron (if you do not have a cast-iron skillet, you can substitute with...oh come on! you need cast-iron! But I guess a normal skillet will do for now...for now) over medium-high heat. Add bacon slices, pressing down as they cook to render fat. Once bacon is crisped (and smelling heavenly), remove from skillet and set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 350. Add red and green onions and garlic to skillet, shaking the pan as they cook so they don't stick. Drizzle in a little olive oil, then add spinach and dill. Cook until spinach is wilted down, adding more as you go.
5. Once all spinach is wilted, stir in sauce and cooked pasta. Top with remaining 1 oz. of mozzarella, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Let cool for ten minutes, then sprinkle with smoked paprika and green onions and serve.

1 comment:

  1. You had me guessing with turkey bacon, as I wondered how you get pork from poultry. You probably already know that "turkey bacon comes from the whole turkey and can be cured or uncured, smoked, chopped, and reformed into strips that resemble bacon." What less could I expect from someone who can procure duck sausages? ︺ Д︺