Mac & Cheddar Cheese with Apples & Bacon.

This weather is dumb.

Real dumb.

For real.

Luckily, I have some crazy friends who will join me for the dumb running when it “feels like -7˚.” (Thanks, Bri!)

A grand total of 14 people were out running in Central Park on Wednesday. I was one of them.

A grand total of 14 people were out running in Central Park on Wednesday. I was one of them.

And it looks like this weekend isn’t going to get any warmer.

So suck it up.

And carb it up.

#gameon

Mac & Cheddar Cheese with Apples & Bacon
Serves 4-6

mac_apples_bacon

Ingredients:
1 lb. campanelle pasta
kosher salt
6 oz. thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, diced
2 Braeburn apples, cored, seeded, and diced
black pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
extra-virgin olive oil

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. Bring large pot of salted water to rolling boil; add pasta; cook to al dente.

3. Meanwhile, add bacon to large sauté pan; cook over medium heat until crispy; remove from pan with slotted spoon; drain on paper towel; transfer to large mixing bowl; remove all but 1 Tbsp. bacon grease from pan; add apples; season; sauté until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes; remove from pan to bowl with bacon; reserve.

4. In saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until melted; add flour; whisk to combine; slowly whisk in milk until incorporated and free of lumps; bring to boil, continually whisking; reduce to simmer; whisk in cheese; season to taste; reserve, keeping warm.

5. When pasta has finished cooking, transfer with slotted spoon to reserved mixing bowl; toss with apples and bacon; stir in cheddar cheese sauce; season to taste; transfer to large casserole dish; top with bread crumbs; drizzle 2-3 Tbsps. olive oil over top; bake in oven for 10 minutes or until bubbly; remove from oven; let cool 10 minutes; serve.

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