I love Macaroni and Cheese as much as I love pizza. I just love pasta in general. Ok I just love FOOD!
This Bacon Mac and Cheese is like a step up from your traditional mac and cheese and oh so delicious. Enjoy!
Bacon Mac and Cheese
Author: Renée Norman-Kenny
- 6 slices bacon
- ½ lb dried cavatappi pasta or shells
- Salt, to season the pasta water
- 3 cups half and half
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup whole milk mozzarella, shredded
- ½ cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper. to taste
- ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish.
- Fry the bacon in a skillet pan or bake on a large baking sheet with sides covered with foil.To bake the bacon I typically cook my bacon for 10-12 minutes, but every oven varies. You do not want this bacon to be too crispy. Drain on paper towels and chop into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- In a large pot, boil water for your pasta. Once it starts to boil, season with about two teaspoons of salt and stir to dissolve. Add the pasta and boil until al dente according to the package. Drain and set aside.
- Rinse and reuse the pasta pot for the sauce. Over low heat, add the butter and melt. Once butter is melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Let the roux cook for 1 minute and continue to whisk. Add in 1 cup of the half and half, and continue to whisk until smooth. Add in the remaining 2 cups of half and half and continue whisking.
- Add in the herbs, onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, mix well.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and allow the mixture to come up to a simmer while whisking the entire time. The mixture will thicken and should take about 5 minutes to start simmering. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat. Add the parmigiano-reggiano, mozzarella and Cheddar cheese and stir gently until it's melted and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the pasta and bacon (reserve a Tablespooon of bacon for on top) and stir to coat the pasta with the cheese mixture.
- Pour mixture into a slightly greased baking dish and sprinkle the top with the bacon and breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 30 minutes until hot and golden brown.