Did it really happen that way? Were the tomatoes from Mom's garden? They might have been. She's always grown them (except this year...) and Grammie often did the cooking (even at Mom's house...) and I always dutifully did what I was told... no, wait, scratch that last one. That certainly
What has definitely happened is that as I've grown up my tastes have evolved. Those red orbs in Mom's garden no longer make me say, "yelch." Now I can appreciate a classic BLT as much as Mom and Grammie did. When last at the supermarket I saw that Barilla is now making their mini farfalle flavored with tomatoes and carrots and the plan for this, and other, tomato based pasta dishes sprang to life. Paired with homemade whole wheat bread crumbs this dish evokes strong memories of childhood.
BLT Mac and Cheese ~ serves 4
4 oz of your favorite pasta (dry weight)
4 slices bacon
2 medium tomatoes
2 cups arugula, loosely packed
1.5 cups comté, grated & divided ~ may substitute Swiss, gruyere, cheddar or another cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450º F.
Fry the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels. When cool dice 3 slices together. Separately dice the last slice and set aside.
While the water is boiling for the pasta slice the tomatoes into thin rounds. Reserve 8-12 center slices from both tomatoes for the top of the pasta and dice the rest. Combine the bread crumbs and butter. Stir to combine. Add the single diced slice of bacon and half cup of shredded cheese. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box - but drain it 30 seconds to one minute early. Combine with 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir to incorporate. Add the chopped tomatoes, the 3 diced slices of bacon and arugula. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into casserole dish.
Fan the reserved slices of tomato on top and then cover with the bread crumb-cheese-bacon mixture.
Bake for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve hot.