Lisa Schroeder, the executive chef and owner of one of Portland’s most popular restaurants, Mother’s Bistro & Bar, creates refined versions of traditional home-cooked dishes.
She focuses on creating “comfort food” that features regional and in-season ingredients.
“I’m always looking for simple ways to keep things interesting on my menu,” says Schroeder. “I created my recipe for California Avocado, Bacon ad Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese by adding diced avocados to one of my restaurant staples – macaroni and cheese – and it resulted in a creamy and delectable dish.”
Avocado, bacon and cheddar macaroni & cheese recipe
1 tsp. salt, plus more for cooking pasta
1 lb. fusilli (corkscrew) pasta
3/4 lb. low sodium bacon
3 cups half and half
2 cups firmly packed low fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
1 large fresh tomato, finely-diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts, optional
Bring a large (6- to 8-quart) pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Stir in pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to the empty pot.
Meanwhile, place a large (12- to 14-inch) sauté pan over high heat for several minutes. When hot, add bacon and sauté until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Let bacon cool then finely dice.
Pour off fat from pan (into a heatproof container) and return pan to medium-high heat. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to medium and continue to simmer until the cream is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
Add cheddar cheese and bacon. Stir well and cook over medium-high heat, stirring now and then, until the cheese has melted and the mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Gently stir in the diced avocado and tomatoes.
Pour the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta in the pot. Place over medium heat and simmer 1 minute to thicken the sauce and allow pasta to absorb the flavors, stirring now and then.
Serve in individual bowls topped with a sprinkle of sliced green onions.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 960; Total Fat 45 g (Sat 17 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 2.5 g, Mono 13 g); Cholesterol 80 mg; Sodium 1130 mg; Potassium 880 mg; Dietary Fiber 8 g; Protein 39 g
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.