Hearty Mac and Cheese Strata with Bacon

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (I use the smaller ones if I can find them – you can use macaroni or even penne or rigatoni – just have 2 C. of noodles)
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 C. shallots, diced
1 lb. sliced mushrooms (button or exotic)
1 Tbs. white flour
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 C. grated Emmenthaler cheese or Swiss
1 1/2 C. grated mild cheddar
6 slices bacon
1/2 C. breadcrumbs made from fresh bread
3/4 C. milk

Cut the bacon crosswise into small strips. Fry until crisp. You’ll have automatic bacon bits.

Wipe out the pan. You can now re-use it for your sauté portion of the recipe (later).

Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling water. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot. Add the milk, flour, mustard, salt, cayenne, Worcestershire and the cheese. Stir until well blended.

While the pasta is cooking, in a sauté pan melt the butter and add the shallots and mushrooms. Cook on medium high until onions are loose and mushrooms have reduced and are beginning to brown just slightly on the sides.

Now you’re ready to assemble your strata. In the bottom of a 9×9-inch oven-proof pan with tall sides, add your mushroom mixture.

Then add half of the bacon. Add the mac and cheese mixture, the other half of the bacon and now the bread crumbs.

Bake the pasta for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The top will be crunchy and the flavor delicious!