Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese — There is nothing more comforting on a cold fall day than a hot bowl of macaroni and cheese.

The other day was a typical fall day here in Michigan.  It was cold, wet, and windy.  Mark is only a month away from his first marathon — I am so proud of him and all the training he has been doing — and had an 18 mile training run to do.  Knowing that a good bowl of hearty, warm and comforting macaroni and cheese would be perfect for dinner I set off on my Pinterest boards to see what recipe spoke to me.  For weeks now I had been looking at this Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese and when I came across again I knew instantly this was the one I wanted to make.  What is more delicious than bacon with pasta????  Although I have to say — I am partial to recipes that are filled with butter and cream — Paul Dean was right when she said “butter makes everything better!” — this recipe has zero butter and zero cream.  Ekk, I said to myself!  How can you make a hearty and rich macaroni and cheese without butter or cream?

Bacon and Pea Mac & Cheese

Knowing that Mark likes to watch what he eats I decided to take the plunge and make this “healthier” version of macaroni and cheese.  I did add more bacon and more cheese to the recipe, so in reality I probably cancelled out the fact that there is no cream or butter — opps!  This macaroni and cheese is amazing!  Even using yogurt it is rich, cheesy, and oh so comforting.  The peas add the perfect bite of sweetness to the mixture and the bacon adds a nice crunch and flavor to the mixture.  This will absolutely become a regular meal in the Reckling household!!!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Bacon and Pea Mac n' Cheese

Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese
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8 ounces Penne Pasta
8 ounces Frozen Peas
8 slices Thick Cut Bacon, cooked & cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
5 ounces White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
5 ounces Fontina Cheese, shredded
Hot Sauce

In a large stock pot cook the penne pasta in well salted water according to the directions on the pasta package.  When there is one minute left on the pasta add the peas into the pasta water.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat add save one cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta and the peas in a strainer.  Return the pasta and the peas into the large stock pot once drained.

Add the yogurt, a few dashes of the hot sauce (to your taste), about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and about 1/3 of the grated cheese.  Stir the mixture until the cheese has melted.  Slowly stir in the remaining cheese by adding in small handfuls of cheese at a time.  If you add too much cheese at once the mixture will probably clump.  If you need to thin and melt the cheese slowly add a small amount of pasta water as needed.

Add the bacon and season the macaroni and cheese with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well and serve immediately.

Source: adapted slightly from Confections of a Foodie Bride

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