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Old 09-02-2005, 08:35 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southern Illiniois
Posts: 8,175
Jan Birnbaum's Mac'n Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese My Way
Recipe courtesy Jan Birnbaum

18 pieces extra-large shell pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup tasso ham or bacon
5 large shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, mined
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
2 cups cream
1 cup grated fontina
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
18 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups gently packed spinach
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
Hot pepper sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves

Preheat broiler.

Bring a large post of water to a rolling boil, add pasta shells and cook
al dente, according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the olive oil and tasso or bacon,
cook until just crisp,
then add shallots and garlic. Cook and stir over moderate heat just
until shallots are translucent. Add the flour, cook stirring constantly
to blend and toast the flour, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine,
reduce until almost dry. Add the cream, bring to a simmer until the
sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the
heat and stir in the cheeses, shrimp and spinach. Gently stir until
cheese is melted, spinach is wilted and shrimp is beginning to turn
pink. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Season with hot
sauce, to taste.

Drain the pasta, making sure to shake all of the water off and out of
the shells.

In a large ovenproof baking dish, place drained shells. Add the cheese
and shrimp mixture and gently fold into the pasta. Sprinkle with the
bread crumbs and chopped parsley. Place under the broiler until the
breadcrumbs are toasted about 2 to 3 minutes.

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