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Not the Blue Box
Feb 6, 2014
Most of us probably have a box or two of Kraft Mac and Cheese hanging out in our pantries. We reach for it when we want something quick and filling. I have mixed mine with tuna, stirred in dill and onion, added sliced hot dogs, and heard of preparations with ground beef, chili, and even using the mix in a salad recipe. The quick and easy options for macaroni and cheese are endless.
Today was cold. OK, today wasn’t just cold. It was a brisk, bitter, biting cold, just as much of our winter seems to have been. All I wanted was comfort food, and I achieved this with a grown-up version of macaroni and cheese that was definitely NOT the Blue Box. Although, preparation was fairly simple, this divine combination of ingredients was impressive enough that it could be served to guests. It isn't for those counting calories, but it is an indulgence that will leave you wondering if you really want or need that Blue Box, after all.
Tortellini with Corn and Bacon
12 ounces tortellini (fresh, frozen, or dried … your choice)
6 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
2 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 ½ cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese
Cook tortellini in large pot of boiling water until tender, but still firm to bite. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add mushrooms to the skillet (with bacon drippings). Sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes (until golden). Add macaroni, cream, and corn and toss until sauce coats macaroni, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, and bacon. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and dish is heated through, about 5-10 minutes. (Serves 6-8)
Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their two dogs ranch near Colome.