Sequels rarely best their original, but this one-pot mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon does just that. It’s a hybrid Italian/American comfort food perfect for cold winter nights.

1 to 2 strips of bacon, sliced into small pieces
Olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
Pinch of salt
1/3 pound baby pasta shells
1 to 2 cups vegetable stock
2 ounces cheese blend (fontina, Parmesan, blue cheese), grated
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1.) In a 10-inch skillet over high heat, add bacon and a splash of olive oil. Cook until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
2.) To the same pan, add the shallot and a pinch of salt. Cook shallots for about 1 minute, then add the pasta and stir well. Add the stock to completely cover the pasta. Stir and continue to cook over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, adding more liquid if it dips below the level of pasta in the pan.
3.) When pasta is almost done, lower the heat, add cheese and mix well. Stir for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
4.) Stir in heavy cream. Transfer to a plate, top with crispy bacon and enjoy!

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