RECIPE

BLT Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese

This mac n’ cheese is extra creamy with the addition of cream cheese.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 pound ziti rigati pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Two bricks cream cheese (3 ounces each), cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Asiago, Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil, torn
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 500°F.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.


While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp at the edges, 3-5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute. Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Stir in half of the shredded cheese, then the reserved pasta cooking water.


Add the pasta to the sauce and toss. Pile into a casserole and top with the tomatoes and remaining shredded cheese. Bake until browned on top, 7-8 minutes.


In a large bowl, toss the arugula and basil with the lemon juice and a drizzle of EVOO. Serve on top of the pasta.

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray