Shortcut Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Sweet Potatoes
Mascarpone cheese replaces the standard butter and flour combo in this super-fast (and decadent!) stovetop mac.
Yield: 4 servings
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 large sweet potato (about 1 1/4 lb.), peeled and cut into 3/4″ pieces
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 12 oz. mezzi or regular rigatoni
- 1/2 c. mascarpone cheese
- 3 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, finely grated
- Heat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until browned and beginning to crisp, 12 to 15 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate (the bacon will crisp as it cools). Break into pieces once cool.
- On a second rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potato with the oil, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast in the same oven as the bacon for 12 minutes. Toss the potatoes and continue roasting until golden brown and tender, 6 to 9 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta as label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Toss the pasta with the mascarpone until the pasta is coated, then toss with the Cheddar until melted, adding some of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems dry. Fold in the sweet potato and bacon and sprinkle with additional thyme, if desired.