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California Avocado, Bacon & Cheddar
Macaroni & Cheese
© Courtesy of California Avocado Commission

1 tsp. salt, plus more for cooking pasta
1 lb. fusilli (corkscrew) pasta
3/4 lb. low sodium bacon
3 cup half and half
2 cup firmly packed low fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
1 large fresh tomato, finely diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts, optional

Bring a large (6– to 8–quart) pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Stir in pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the empty pot. Meanwhile, place a large (12- to 14-inch) sauté pan over high heat for several minutes. When hot, add bacon and sauté until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Let bacon cool then finely dice. Pour off fat from pan (into a heatproof container) and return pan to medium–high heat. Add half and half and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to medium and continue to simmer until the cream is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and bacon. Stir well and cook over medium–high heat, stirring now and then, until the cheese has melted and the mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the diced avocado and tomatoes. Pour the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta in the pot. Place over medium heat and simmer 1 minute to thicken the sauce and allow pasta to absorb the flavors, stirring now and then. Serve in individual bowls topped with a sprinkle of sliced green onions. Serves 4.

 


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