The crunch of the topping goes so well with the mouth-watering flavor of bacon and luscious cheese sauce in this fun and economical dish.
- 1 handful breadcrumbs, fresh and chunky *
- olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk
- 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (mild or sharp as you prefer)
- 1/2 pound rigatoni or other short pasta
- 4 slices thick bacon, grilled until crisp
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season, and bake for 5 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a pan. Add the garlic and mustard and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and whisk on a low heat for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, then bring to a boil, whisking. Reduce heat and simmer until thick (about 4 minutes). Stir in the cheese until melted.
- Boil the pasta until al dente, drain and mix with the cheese sauce and bacon. Spoon into 2 large ramekins but do not fill to the top; leaving at least 3/4 inch. Top each with breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Chop up any stale bread with a bread knife, put it on a baking sheet or cookie pan, drizzle lightly with a light olive oil and sprinkle gently with garlic powder and oregano flakes. If you make plenty of these, you may store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Great on salads and soups.
Adapted from Olive Magazine
Serve with a tossed salad or your favorite green vegetable. We liked green beans with almonds with this dish.
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