Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pasta Invention Time!

     By now you know I love to cook from any number of delicious-sounding/looking recipes I find, but I also like to occasionally dabble in Iron Chef-ing, aka grabbing a bunch of ingredients and seeing what I can come up with. Today's recipe comes from just that (also, due to the spontaneity of it, the pictures for this post are kind of lacking in quality. Yep, cell phone pics. Sorry!). I had picked up these noodles at Target with no particular plan in mind; I just spotted them and thought "Oh yes. I want to eat those." So let's see what I came up with for them! 

     First thing's first: I boiled the noodles. Seems obvious, but hey, I don't want to be the one that accidentally convinces you to eat uncooked noodles. Then I started cooking up some bacon.

     I had originally thought I'd just use the bacon grease to get a bacon-y roux going (fun fact: basically any recipe that starts with a roux is gonna be delicious) and use the bacon in some other recipe, but then I ate a nice crispy piece and thought "Wait a minute, idiot, bacon is delicious. Put it in the pasta!" So I chopped it up and set it aside. Back to the sauce! 

     As I mentioned, I wanted to go with a roux here. If you're not familiar, basically a roux is just a mix of fat and flour that gets you a nice thick base for sauces. It's usually made with butter, but this is America and I had bacon. So I whisked some flour into the bacon grease until it...looked like it does in the picture. Look, I'll be honest: this is one of those things that you learn from trial and error. There is no set amount of flour or anything, you just add some until it looks good. Same with the milk I added next. I just poured a bunch in while stirring until it looked about right. So that's the downside: some cooking things you just have to screw up a few times to learn how to do them. The bright side is that once you learn how to cook things that have no real recipe, people who don't know how to cook will watch you do it and look at you like a god. So that's fun. Anyway, once the sauce was looking smooth I threw in a big ol' pile of grated Asiago cheese and let it melt.

     Then I poured the sauce over the noodles and added most of the chopped bacon. I also stirred in a little dried ground mustard (trust me, it adds just a leeeetle kick to cheesy dishes) and some red pepper flakes for a dash of heat. Now, I could have stopped there, but you know what they say: if it's worth doing, it's worth doing in a manner so decadent and amazing you almost feel a little ashamed to admit to the internet that you did it (that's how that saying goes, right?). So I spread the gooey deliciousness out in a casserole pan...

     ...and whipped up a topping of, what else? MORE CHEESE. I used some mozzarella, some cheddar, and some Parmesan (what's that bring our cheese count up to? Four?). Then I toasted up three slices of bread and crushed them to smithereens for some fine bread crumbs (fine as in texture, I meant, but I guess fine as in fiiiiine could also apply, depending on how into bread crumbs you are) and added that to the mix. 

     Then I just sprinkled that mixture over the top of the noodles (along with the bacon I didn't stir right into the noodles) and popped them into the oven for a few minutes to get a melty, crispy, amazing crust on the top.

     Awww yiss. This is happiness in a pan. Obviously it's not diet food, but if you came here expecting that then I don't even know what kind of wrong internet turn you took, but you're in the wrong part of town, buddy. You don't belong here. Go back and take a right turn at Google Street over to Pinterest Lane, you might find some health food there. 

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