INGREDIENTS (~2 Servings):
-2.5 Cups Whole Grain Penne Pasta
-8oz Smoked Cheddar
-4oz Lite Cream Cheese
-2Tbsp Parmesan (+ 1 Tbsp Parmesan for Topping)
-4 Strips Center-Cut Bacon (Fat Rendered / Chopped)
-4oz Portabello (Rinsed / Rough Chopped)
-1-2 Red Serano Pepper (Rinsed / Seeded / Sliced Thin)
-1 Clove Garlic (Rinsed / Peeled / Finely Chopped)
-2Tbsp All-Pourpose Flour
-2-3 Sprigs Rosemary Leaves (Remove Leaves / Chopped)
-1/2tsp Ground Oregano
-1/2tsp Liquid Smoke
-1/2tsp Ground Basil
-1/4tsp Dash Mustard Powder
-Sea Salt / Cracked Black Pepper to Taste
METHOD to the MADNESS:
-Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees & turn Grill to medium heat.
-Boil Penne to al dente in lightly salted water (Once cooked, remove Penne from heat, drain, & return to cover).
-While Penne is Boiling, Render FAT from Bacon (do NOT OVERcook).
-Remove Bacon from heat, & set aside on a resting plate w/ papertowel.
-In separate mixing bowl, combine ALL dry ingredients (flour, herbs/spices & salt/pepper).
-In an alternate large sauce pan add Butter, Milk, Liquid smoke, & Garlic over medium heat, stiring frequently.
-Once butter melts & milk bubbles slightly, combine dry ingredients into Milk/Garlic mixture.
-Mix dry ingredients thoroughly, add Cheeses, & continue stirying while maintaining a low/med heat in the sauce pan.
-When Cheese sauce is smooth, pour liberally over the cooked & drained Penne.
-Now, fold Portabello, Serano, Bacon into the Cheese/Penne & combine ALL ingredients.
You could eat at this juncture, but TIME TO TURN UP THE HEAT & LET THE FLAVORS GO TO WORK!!
-In a small / medium springform pan (I prefer 4″ pan for individual serving), PACK the newly combined Penne & Cheese mixture.
-Fill slightly ABOVE the brim, top w/ Parmesan, & Bake for ~20-30min or until a GOLDEN CRUST begins forming.
-Pull from oven & allow to cool for 5-7min.
-While still in the springform pan, lightly brush the top of the baked product w/ a MINIMAL amount of Olive Oil, flip topside down over the Grill & let sear for 4-6min TOTAL, rotating clockwise 1/2 turn after 2-3min.
-Pull from the grill once crossed-pattern sear marks are in place, sprinkle w/ additional Herbs/Spices, release from the Springform pan, Plate, & GET YOURSELF HOOKED ON el Bachelor’s GRILLED CRACK & CHEESE!!
p.s. Grilling of the Crack & Cheese is made significantly more managable by prepping in individual servings… hence why I LOVE using the 4″ springform pans.