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hard cider mac & cheese

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Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 8

Cost: $2.96 /serving


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In a large pot of salted boiling water, boil pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon pieces are mostly crisped through, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the sage leaves and cook until fragrant and crisp, 1 to 3 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon and sage from pot to a paper towel-lined plate. Add flour, and cook, stirring occasionally, until flour is golden and smells nutty, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cider slowly, whisking to combine with the flour. Next, add the milk slowly, again whisking to break up any clumps of flour. Bring mixture up to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook until thickened slightly (like a thick gravy), 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in cheeses until they have completely melted into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and fold in the cooked noodles. If the sauce feels too thick or grainy, add reserved pasta water a splash at a time, stirring in between additions. (You can also reheat this mac over medium heat with a splash of pasta water, if the cheese sauce gets too thick when it cools.) Fold in half the bacon sage mixture. Serve mac and cheese topped with remaining bacon and sage.

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