Big cheese Laura Werlin -- author of "Mac & Cheese, Please!" -- whips up this delicious twist on a foodie favorite!
Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese with Leeks and Bacon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces small shell pasta, about 2 cups
8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
3 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups whole or reduced fat milk
1 cup creme fraiche
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, coarsely grated
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter an 8-inch square (1 1/2 quart) baking dish or pan (or six 8-ounce ramekins). Set aside.
Fill a 4- to 5-quart pot three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender but firm, 4 to 6 minutes, and drain. Reserve the pot.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat and add the leeks. Cook over medium heat until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the pasta and 2 1/2 cups Dubliner. Add the bacon and leeks. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Dubliner.
Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
More info at: laurawerlin.com