RECIPE

BLT with Welsh Rarebit Macaroni

The classic flavors of Welsh Rarebit – a tangy sauce and extra sharp cheddar cheese – make this bacon, cress and roasted tomato topped mac ‘n cheese a true standout dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices good-quality bacon
  • Salt
  • 1 pound short-cut whole wheat or whole grain pasta
  • 8 thick slices beefsteak tomato
  • 3 tablespoons scallions or chives, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • 4 slices good-quality white bread, crusts trimmed
  • 1 stick butter
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard, such as Colman’s brand
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 generous tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup ale
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 bundles loosely packed upland cress or watercress, trimmed and stemmed and washed (about 4 cups)

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange two cooling racks on baking sheets and arrange the bacon on one of them. The bacon may also be baked on a slotted broiler pan. Bake the bacon until crisp, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Salt the water and add the pasta. Undercook the pasta by 1-2 minutes, until just shy of al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the water comes to a boil, arrange the sliced tomatoes on the second baking rack. Sprinkle with the chives, salt and pepper, to taste, and a drizzle of EVOO. Roast them for about 20 minutes. Switch the oven to broil when you remove the tomatoes.

Process the bread slices in a food processor until they become coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl.

Melt the butter in saucepot over medium heat. Pour 1/3-1/2 of the butter over the breadcrumbs to moisten, then stir in the parsley.

To the remaining butter in the saucepot, add the garlic and stir for 1 minute, then add the hot sauce and mustard. Stir to combine, then sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and ale. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the stock and bring to a bubble. When the sauce thickens, stir in 2 cups of the cheese in a figure-eight motion and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the pasta with to the sauce and toss to coat. Spoon it into crocks or a casserole dish. Top with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese, then put it on the middle rack of the oven. Broil until bubbly and deeply brown on top, about 2-3 minutes.

Arrange a bed of cress leaves alongside portions of macaroni and cheese or individual crocks. Top the watercress with a thick slice of roasted tomato and criss-crossed bacon strips. Cover with a second slab of tomato and serve.

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Rachael Ray