Comté Cheese (3 cups)
and set aside.
Bacon (8 slices)
until crispy in a microwave oven, then crumble into pieces and set aside.
Fill a large, deep stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water and add
Rigatoni (1 lb)
. Cook to al dente according to package instructions.
In a microwave ovenn warm the
Whole Milk (4 cups)
slightly. You’re just taking the chill off, not bringing it to a simmer.
In a separate pan over medium-low heat, melt the
Butter (1/4 cup)
Once melted, whisk in the
All-Purpose Flour (1/3 cup)
. As soon as it starts to bubble, begin whisking constantly for about 2 minutes.
Gradually add the milk, still whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. Once all milk is incorporated, bring it to a low boil and continue to whisk occasionally as it thickens, 4–5 minutes.
Once thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the
Smoked Paprika (1/2 tsp)
Kosher Salt (1 pinch)
Once the pasta is al dente, drain quickly in a colander and immediately return to the same pot.
Add the béchamel sauce to the noodles and incorporate thoroughly. Make sure it's well mixed, with sauce coating the noodles inside and out.
Add 1 3/4 cups of the grated cheese and incorporate.
Add 3/4 of the bacon and mix together.
Transfer the pasta to a cast-iron skillet or an oven-proof baking dish. Top with remaining bacon, then add the remaining comté cheese in an even layer on top.
Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and starts to turn golden brown. Comté is a very sturdy cheese and it will stand up to a fair amount of heat before it starts to turn golden brown. But as always, when broiling, be sure to leave the oven door cracked and keep a close eye on it so you don’t burn it.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately.