While I’m content to leave most comfort foods like stews and casseroles where they belong (in the harsh “arctic tundra” winter months), I have a hard time getting through an entire summer without a batch of homemade macaroni and cheese. It’s just so good . . . any time of year. I told myself that adding a boatload of vegetables from the farmer’s market would “summer-ize” it. To summarize, just go with it, OK? There’s candied bacon in it for you if you play along.
To start my Farmer’s Market Mac & Cheese with Candied Bacon, I sauteed my boatload of vegetables. The vegetable element here is totally customizable to what’s available at your farmer’s market. The important thing is just to saute each veggie until it is nearly tender before adding it to the macaroni and cheese.
I made a classic bechamel sauce using DairyPure milk. According to a new survey by Wakefield Research, 71% of people frequently worry about the purity or quality of milk they serve their family. DairyPure milk is a great choice, because it is the only milk backed by an exclusive Five-Point Purity Promise, which means: 1.) It contains no artificial growth hormones, 2.) it’s tested for antibiotics, 3.) it’s continually quality tested to ensure purity, 4.) it only comes from cows fed a healthy diet, and 5.) it’s cold shipped fresh from your local dairy.
After I added a combination of white cheddar and smoked cheddar cheeses (which I also bought at the farmer’s market!), it was time for that candied bacon. Oh yes, the candied bacon. It’s seriously the easiest thing to make – just saute sliced bacon until it’s almost cooked through, and add a few spoonfuls of brown sugar at the end. That’s it!
DairyPure milk is available in the dairy case at grocery stores nationwide in whole, 2% reduced fat, 1% low fat and skim/fat free milks, as well as creams.For recipes and local retailers, visit their DairyPure.com, and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Pinterest.
Farmer's Market Mac & Cheese with Candied Bacon
For the Farmer's Market Vegetables:
- Olive oil, for sauteeing
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved
- 1 cup shelled fava beans
For the Macaroni & Cheese:
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 8 ounces orecchiette
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces shredded white Cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
For the Candied Bacon:
- 12 ounces smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- Saute the Farmer's Market Vegetables: Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil to skillet; cook carrots, shallot, zucchini, mushrooms and fava beans, separately, until each vegetable is tender-crisp (about 3 to 5 minutes per vegetable), adding more oil as necessary. As each vegetable finishes cooking, transfer to large bowl.
- Make the Macaroni & Cheese: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- In large pot of boiling salted water, cook orecchiette according to package directions for al dente; drain and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon (do not let mixture start to brown). While whisking, slowly pour in milk in a steady stream. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly.
- Remove milk mixture from heat. Add cheeses and Italian seasoning; stir until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni. Add sautéed vegetables; stir until everything is well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
- Meanwhile, make the Candied Bacon: Add bacon to large skillet and cook over medium-high heat 15 to 17 minutes or until bacon is about 3/4 cooked, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until bacon is crispy and glazed with melted sugar, stirring constantly. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate.
- Serve macaroni and cheese topped with candied bacon.
Disclosure: This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DairyPure. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.