Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

Bacon Cheeseburger PastaSuper Sized
In case you haven’t quite figured it out yet, food is a big deal in my family. If there is any event going on the chances are real good that I am planning some sort of food celebration to go with it.

And, there are a few specific days that my family has determined to be caloric free-for-alls. New Years’ day is one. Super Bowl Sunday is another.

As a general rule, I tend to base my Super Bowl nosh around the two teams competing that year. Not gonna lie but I’m pretty sick of the Patriots and their clam chowder. So I am going to call an audible and go in a different direction.

A week or so ago I was flipping through one of my many magazines in search of something to feed a crowd and came across a recipe for a Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta. I have to admit I was intrigued. I mean, it sounds good in theory but has the potential to be kinda gross.

My son, who happened to be sitting on the couch with me at the time, had a very different reaction. Apparently, the idea of cheese, ground beef and bacon mixed together with pasta is a fourteen-year-old boy’s idea of food nirvana. (He’s all about the meat and carbs.) He’s so excited, in fact, that he has been conducting daily check-ins with me to make sure that I am still going to make this for Super Bowl Sunday. And, I have repeatedly assured him I will. You would think this is life or death…

I am skeptical. Granted, not everything has to be haute cuisine—and people have been eating cheeseburger mac for decades. I am probably more afraid of the fact that I will love it and crave it for the rest of my days…much like an actual cheeseburger.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
Yields 6 servings

16 ounces elbow macaroni
1 pound lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 slices bacon
8 ounces shredded American Cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (optional)

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400 ºF. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

Prepare the pasta
Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions.

Prepare the ground beef
While pasta is cooking, crumble the ground beef into a skillet over medium heat to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the beef is browned, drain off the fat and place the browned beef in a large heat-proof bowl.

When pasta is done, drain the water and add run some cold water over it to stop the cooking process and cool it down. Drain Completely. Add pasta to the bowl with the browned beef.

Make the sauce
In a separate bowl, whisk the tomato sauce, water, pickles, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together.

Assemble the dish
Pour the sauce over the beef and macaroni. Add the shredded cheese and stir gently to combine. Transfer to a greased baking dish and cover lightly with foil. Place dish in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Prepare the bacon
While casserole is baking, microwave the bacon strips until crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then crumble into small pieces.

Remove dish from oven and remove the foil. Sprinkle with crisped bacon. Return uncovered dish to oven and bake until macaroni is tender and cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove dish from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with onion, if using, before serving.

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