Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions + A Stitch Giveaway

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

While the temperatures have been soaring here in Oregon, I've found myself craving the fall. The sound of rain pittering against the window, the crunch of fallen autumn leaves underfoot, the abundance of squash and apples and pears at the market; I unreasonably want it all and want it now. But that's not quite how the seasons work, I'm afraid, so I decided to make a comforting dish that would incorporate one of my favorite fall fruits and keep my craving for autumn at bay for a week or two. Hopefully until this heatwave subsides, anyway.

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

I caramelized some onions in the pan I used to cook the bacon for some extra flavor, and briefly cooked the pears in honey before incorporating everything into a white cheddar macaroni and cheese base with a sprinkling of blue cheese. Then into the oven it went for a bit of toasting, and when it came out it was golden, bubbling, and magnificent. There's something very special about the way pears, honey, bacon, and blue cheese all play off each other that borders on magical. And it looks pretty tasty to boot, especially when served alongside Stitch's handmade linen dinner napkins. Stitch is headed up by the lovely Blair Moore who started her little Brooklyn linen business as a way to fund her thesis, but I am hoping she continues to make these guys on the side after she finishes up school because I want to expand my collection of them. Quality linens will last you for years and years in the kitchen, much longer than the disposable paper napkin, and they just make every meal look that much nicer with a bit of beautiful fabric laid alongside it. Lucky for us, Blair is kindly giving away a set of 4 beige & white linen dinners napkins with beige stitching, exactly like those pictured here. To enter, use the rafflecopter widget later on in the post. The entry period ends at 11:59 pm PST on September 9th.

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

And now that my summer online food styling & photography course has ended, I wanted to take the time to thank everyone who participated. I had so much fun working with all of you and getting to know you, and am so incredibly proud of the leaps and bounds you've made in your photography. Getting to pour over all of your photos brought me much delight, but what I enjoyed most was gaining so many wonderful friends. Thank you, again. Because there were so many people in the course (31 this summer) I can't include everyone's photo in the post, but wanted to include a few of the photos that were submitted for the final assignment because I am so, so very proud of all of you.

If you're interested in participating in my next workshop, registration just opened for my Fall 2014 Food Styling & Photography Workshop in Upstate New York with Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial, and I would absolutely love to see you there!

Elenore Bendel Zahn | Earthsprout
Elenore Bendel Zahn of Earthsprout

Nikki Albertyn | Gathered
Nikki Albertyn of Gathered

Aysegul 'Ice' Sanford | Foolproof Living
Aysegul Sanford of Foolproof Living

Adinda De Boer | Girl vs Woman
Adinda De Boer of Girl vs Woman

Devorak Amadeo
Devorak Amodeo of Metro Newspaper

Maryanne Cabrera | The Little Epicurean
Maryanne Cabrera of The Little Epicurian

Erica Wagner | The Beet Box
Erica Wagner of The Beet Box

Debbi Smirnoff
Debbi Smirnoff

Julia Mueller | The Roasted Root
Julia Mueller of The Roasted Root

Amy Amato | Almost Satisfied
Amy Amato of Almost Satisfied

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions


Ingredients


3 slices thick cut bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup honey
2 large ripe pears, peeled cored and chopped
1 pound dry macaroni noodles
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
2 and 1/4 cups whole milk
1 pound white cheddar, grated
2 ounces blue cheese, such as stilton, freshly crumbled


Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

Begin by cooking the bacon. Grill them on a season cast iron skillet over medium heat until they just become crispy. Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

To caramelize the onions, place them in the cast iron skillet with the bacon grease. Cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until they have turned light gold and are fragrant. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Add the honey and pears and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the pear pieces deepen in hue slightly and the honey thins out, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the pasta according to package directions and set it aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. As soon as the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste. Add the milk and whisk constantly until the milk becomes hot but not boiling. Add the cheddar and blue cheese and stir until the cheese is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

In a large bowl, gently stir together the cheese mixture, pasta, bacon, caramelized onions, and pears until the pasta is coated in the sauce and the toppings are evenly distributed. Empty the bowl into a large casserole dish and bake in the center rack of the oven for 25-35 minutes or until the pasta is just starting to get golden brown at the tips and sauce is nice and bubbly along the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.




Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

56 comments:

  1. Um... I can't even handle this right now!

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  2. These ingredients all together - incredible! Can't wait to try it! My favorite fall meal would have to be a roasted butternut squash salad.

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  3. i just died and went to heaven. my mouth just kept dropping further and further towards the ground as i read the title of this post. IT HAS EVERYTHING! holy moly. get in my belly. also those stitch linens are the cutest!!!!!

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  4. You had me at pear, bacon and blue cheese. I make a pizza every fall with the same ingredients, with the addition of basil, pecans and honey. Fall is hands down my favorite food season.

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  5. This dish looks delicious!!! And those napkins in the giveaway are very sweet. :) I'm with you - fall can't come soon enough!

    asmith7@binghamton.edu

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  6. Wow, this post is incredible! I want to eat everything! You are just the best.

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  7. So gorgeous and I love the flavors!

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  8. I have this recipe for squash roasted with sage. Its to die for.

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  10. This is beyond beyond gorgeous I can't even handle it; hands down the best comfort food I have ever seen. I wish the weather would cool down enough to where warm recipes like this are more amiable. This is definitely on my list for this autumn, along with lots of soup and squashy things!

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  11. comfort food at its finest..such great flavors going on here.

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  12. I LOVED every minute of our class and learned so much. THANK YOU so much for sharing your knowledge with us.
    This dish looks and sounds delicious!
    Cheers!

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  13. My favorite autumn meal is a hearty bowl of chili and some fresh baked bread. When the weather turns cooler I break out my crockpot and experiment with different soups and stews. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin

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  14. I love any kind of stew. I love how it cooks all day and makes the whole house smell wonderful.

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  15. Saving this recipe and waiting for fall!!!! Too hot now in Turkey to eat this kind of dish (wait, did I just say that, what's wrong with me!!?), can't wait to try it out! Photos are amazing!!!

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  16. Love this!! Been looking for a good, different macaroni dish :)

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  17. OMG EVA!!! Next meal the Stitch NY offices are making is this one! AMAZING WORK you are soo talented!

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  18. Anything with butternut squash has always been my favorite autumn meal, but this might be a new late summer/early fall favorite!

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  19. Love seeing your students' work! And I have been craving fall foods, too - but not the shorter days and cooler weather.

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  20. any meal is better with linen napkins…i have being buying them up in thrift stores when i find them…but i love the butternut squash in the fall

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  21. You've outdone yourself with the combination of flavors on this one! Omaggoodnesssss I wish I could snap my fingers and have it appear before me right now. And my favorite autumn meal would be anything with pumpkin, turkey, or sweet potatoes!!!

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  22. I so wish I could have taken your class but I've got umpteen weddings this summer and it just didn't fit into the budget. Putting away pennies though, so maybe next time!!

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  23. I'm going to eat SO MUCH STUFFING this fall.

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  24. Wow this look delectable. My mouth is watering.

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  25. I just got my first apartment and I am always looking for linens and decor items to make it seem more like home; the linens would be a great addition!

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  26. Anything with butternut or kabocha squash. Velvety soups with crusty bread are ideal

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  27. I have a feeling this is going to become a favorite. I love making bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with roasted apples and acorn squash during the fall.

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  28. My god, this macaroni and cheese sounds so perfect right now. I am a sucker for pears and bacon and blue cheese, and putting them together in mac and cheese (basically, the ultimate comfort food) is pure genius. One of my favorite fall dishes is this roasted pear and gorgonzola salad I make, and mm... I bet it would be perfect alongside this mac and cheese!

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  29. I love roasted squash with farro and toasted almonds - perfect fall meal!

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  30. oh man this looks incredible! a friend just had twins and we're taking them dinner on Wednesday...they might be getting this!!! I'm not sure if they like blue cheese, would it be boring without it? Or do you have a suggestion for an alternative? I love it but i know some people feel strongly against it (makes me sad)

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  31. Your photography workshop would be a dream, those photos are incredible!

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  32. anything with acorn squash! sooo yummy

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  33. Also, being from Oregon but living in southern Arizona where it is still going strong at 100 degrees, I miss fall oh so much!

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  34. Chili and soups!

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  35. I really wish I could make your food photography workshop! Instead I will have to drown my sorrows in a bowl of mac & cheese! You should consider doing a workshop in SF!

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  36. Roasted chickpeas and sweet potatoes with cinnamon

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  37. This looks so grown up (meaning the kids won't like it and so I won't have to share) and so Autumn-y. Plus--bacon.

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  38. This sounds so delicious! I can't wait to try it! I love the combination of pears, bacon, and blue cheese. During the Autumn, I love anything with butternut squash.

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  39. ooh, autumn meals is a tough one! I love squash in autumn - especially butternut squash! I love to roast some up and add it to pretty much everything! I'm also really big on chili - it's a family thing, I think.

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  40. Those would be beautiful in my new place. Next to a big ole dish of that mac 'n' cheese.

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  41. I woke up this morning to mist hanging in the meadows and the golden light of the fall sun. Then I went online and found your recipe. Perfect match, it sounds so yummy and fall-ish.
    Love this time of year!

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  42. It's amazing how such a simple thing like macaroni can be transformed into a heavenly delicious meal with the right adding.
    Steam carpet cleaning Croydon

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  43. I love Chicago-style deep dish pizza. My mom always made it when we went back to school.

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  44. Holy crap! just made this!! miiiiiight have increased the bacon by 50% (when it cooked down it just looked so small...also making it for friends as a treat so figured that wouldn't hurt)
    SO GOOD!

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  45. Wow, this looks so soo sooo soo good! And I'm with you-- this heat wave has GOT to go. Where is autumn?!?

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  46. Also please do a food photography workshop in Portland someday. I will be the first to sign up :)

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  47. We love pumpkin ravioli with ricotta cheese.

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  48. I look forward to autumn cooking, because I love all that heavy food. My favorite is pot roast with lots of root veggies and mashed potatoes.

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  49. Delicious! I love your baking dish, it's gorgeous. Would you mind telling me who makes it? Is it the Emile Henry one?

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    1. Thank you!! And yes, it is Emile Henry, his dishwares are so beautiful I am slowly collecting the different pieces he has :)

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  50. apparently all of our friends decided to have babies at the same time. This has been our go-to dish for taking them dinner. Also we have a friend taking the bar examination soon and she's been freaking out so we're bringing her some as well. Just wanted to say thanks for the amazing recipe! everyone loves it!!

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