3 slices thick cut bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1/4 cup honey

2 large ripe pears, peeled cored and chopped

1 pound dry macaroni noodles

5 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons flour

2 and 1/4 cups whole milk

1 pound white cheddar, grated

2 ounces blue cheese, such as stilton, freshly crumbled

Begin by cooking the bacon. Grill them on a season cast iron skillet over medium heat until they just become crispy. Remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

To caramelize the onions, place them in the cast iron skillet with the bacon grease. Cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until they have turned light gold and are fragrant. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Add the honey and pears and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the pear pieces deepen in hue slightly and the honey thins out, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the pasta according to package directions and set it aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. As soon as the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste. Add the milk and whisk constantly until the milk becomes hot but not boiling. Add the cheddar and blue cheese and stir until the cheese is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

In a large bowl, gently stir together the cheese mixture, pasta, bacon, caramelized onions, and pears until the pasta is coated in the sauce and the toppings are evenly distributed. Empty the bowl into a large casserole dish and bake in the center rack of the oven for 25-35 minutes or until the pasta is just starting to get golden brown at the tips and sauce is nice and bubbly along the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Adventures in Cooking