© Maura McEvoy
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Serves : 4

Because most people go to Seattle's Dahlia lounge for the innovative northwestern food and the groovy scene, a lot of them miss this excellent take on macaroni and cheese. It's not one of those Cheddar-heavy versions. Instead it has the slight tang of goat cheese, a spicy bread crumb and bacon topping and a healthy dose of grated Parmesan. Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips

How to Make It

Step 1    

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and let cool. Crumble the bacon.

Step 2    

In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil until foamy. In a bowl, toss the bacon with the bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest and crushed red pepper. Stir in the olive oil mixture until incorporated.

Step 3    

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream and simmer, stirring, until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, goat cheese and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4    

Add the penne to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the penne and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the cheese sauce and toss. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The red pepper can be balanced by acidity, fruit and a touch of sweetness. Try a Riesling or Tocai Friulano.

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