Thursday, December 29, 2016

Gorgonzola Cheddar Shells with Kale and Bacon

It's been awhile since I've posted but this recipe needs to be recorded!

1/2 large bunch of kale
1 tbsp. salt
1 lb. medium shell pasta
7 slices bacon
3 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. milk
2 1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar
5 oz. gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F.
Rinse and chop kale into 1-inch pieces, put in colander and set in sink.
Heat a large pot of water in a pasta pot to boiling, add 1 tbsp. salt. Cook pasta to al dente. When pasta is done, pour into colander with kale in it to parboil the kale while draining the pasta. Stir together and leave in colander.
Cook bacon in skillet and set aside on paper towels. Drain most of the bacon grease out and let bacon cool. In the same skillet, add butter. 
Sprinkle flour over butter and whisk together, let bubble for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes until thickened.
Reduce heat to low, stir in all of the blue cheese and 2 cups of cheddar. Stir until melted.
Crumble the bacon into bits by crumpling paper towels into a ball. Repeat until all bacon is crumbled.
Pour the pasta and kale mixture into the cheese sauce and add bacon. (I added my pasta and kale in two batches so it didn't get too messy). Spoon into 13x9 casserole dish and mix thoroughly.
Sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar on top.
Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes, just until browned. Watch carefully so it does not burn.

Process photos:
Rinse 1/2 bunch of chopped kale in colander. Cook 1 lb medium pasta shells to al dente, then drain into kale. 
Cook bacon in skillet. First time using my new cast iron pan. Smoky!
Shred 2 1/2 cups cheddar and crumble the 5 oz. gorgonzola.

Drain most of the bacon grease out of pan. Add 3 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup flour to make a roux. Cook a few minutes, then slowly whisk in milk. Let simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low and add gorgonzola and 2 cups of the cheddar. Stir until melted.

Add pasta and kale to sauce. (I did mine in two batches so it was less messy).

To crumble bacon, simply crumple the paper towel the cooked slices are on. Add bacon to pasta mixture and mix together. Spoon into 13x9 casserole. Add second half of pasta to sauce and mix. Add to 13x9 casserole. Mix pasta together to evenly distribute the bacon.

Sprinkle 1/4 c. breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 c. cheddar on top. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Then broil until browned, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.

Finished plate!