While home over the holidays visiting my family, I was in awe of my mother's amazing quantity of preserves. She had jars and jars (row after row) of pickles, peppers, and tomatoes. Even though this is deliciously cheesy, good tomatoes made all the difference. —Erin McDowell
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat renders and the bacon begins to crisp, about 5 minutes.
Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes, and transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Melt the butter. Whisk in the flour well, making sure there are no lumps. Cook to heat through, about 2 minutes.
Add the milk and cream, whisking constantly, to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to boil around the edges and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the paprika and 3/4 of the cheese, and stir to combine.
Stir in the bacon mixture and the pasta. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 9? x 13? backing dish. Bake until the sauce is bubbling around the surface and the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.