Advocate-tested recipe

Ignatius Eatery’s Mac’n Cheese With Fried Shrimp

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by chef Blake McDonald, Ignatius Eatery, New Orleans.

3 slices bacon

¼ cup minced onion

2 tbls. minced garlic

½ lb. elbow macaroni

1? cups heavy whipping cream

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

8 ozs. sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated, divided

Peanut oil for frying

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. chili powder

1 tbl. garlic powder

1 tbl. onion powder

½ tsp. paprika

1 tsp. salt

2 tbls. minced fresh parsley

12 jumbo fresh shrimp, cleaned and deveined with tail intact

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Leaving drippings in skillet, remove cooked bacon, crumble, and drain on paper towels. Sauté onion in bacon drippings until translucent. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.

2. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook macaroni until just al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain well.

3. Whisk whipping cream into onion mixture and bring to a boil. Set aside ½ cup shredded cheddar and whisk remaining cheese into cream mixture. When cheese is melted, add salt and pepper to taste and gently stir in macaroni.

4. Divide macaroni among 4 gratin dishes. Sprinkle tops with remaining ½ cup cheese and bacon pieces. Bake until bubbly and brown, 25-30 minutes.

5. While macaroni is baking, pour enough peanut oil into a large, heavy pot to reach a depth of 2 inches and heat to 375 F. In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and parsley. Add shrimp to bowl and toss to coat. Working in batches, add shrimp to hot oil and fry until golden, about 1½ minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm.

6. When macaroni comes out of oven, top each dish with 3 fried shrimp and serve.