This BACON mac and cheese was the most indulgent dish I may have ever made!
I’ve shared my take on Ina Garten’s Adult Mac and Cheese before as a Meatless Monday dish and as a side dish, but this version involves BACON!
This BACON mac and cheese could surely be used for the main course. If you’re going to indulge, you might as well go all the way overboard by adding BACON, right?!?! Bacon is the perfect addition to this macaroni and cheese. This sinful treat will entice all of your senses. With the smell of bacon in the kitchen, you may need to wear a bib so you won’t salivate into the pot while preparing it.
I have a confession to make. I am still in love with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. You know the one. The kind of macaroni and cheese in that blue box? Yep, that stuff. After years of clean eating, I can still consume an entire box of it and it still tastes the same as it always has. I can’t help it, I like it. I really do. #sorrynotsorry
In the news recently, Kraft announced that after almost 80 years, they are about to change. They are under pressure from “healthier” competitors and a controversial food blogger, the company says it is stripping all artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its most iconic item. This is the one artificial store product that I seek out now and then is about to change forever. What if it never tastes the same? It makes me a little sad, but I just so happen to have a little recipe that will help me get over the “blue box blues” and never look back.
I almost didn’t share this post because I was thinking that this recipe for BACON Mac and Cheese wasn’t a good one to share now that the warmer weather is here, but despite the heat of summer, macaroni and cheese is still a favorite summer side dish. That’s because it is so addictive; when you want it, it doesn’t matter what the temperature is. You’re going to turn that oven on and satisfy your craving. Am I right?
A delicious, creamy, cheesy BACON mac and cheese dish is filled with Applewood smoked bacon…
Seriously, what blue box?
BACON Mac and Cheese
- ½ pound Applewood smoked bacon or any bacon of your choice
- 1 Pound Penne Rigate
- 4 cups whole milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces Gruyère cheese Emmi, grated
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese Cabot, grated
- 6 ounces blue cheese St. Agur, crumbled
- ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs or make your own
- ¼ cup basil leaves chopped fresh
- Cook the bacon in a frying pan or bake it in the oven. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (water should be fairly salty). Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. The best way to get the noodles perfect is to cook two to three minutes less than what the box instructions say. The carryover heat will finish the pasta perfectly.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt butter in a large pot (I used a Dutch oven with enamel finish). Whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk.
- Whisk in the hot milk to form a thick and creamy white sauce and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes more.
- Chop the bacon into crumbs and divide into two equal portions.
- Off the heat, add the Gruyère, cheddar, blue cheese, one portion of the bacon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a dash of cayenne pepper.
- Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta, and stir until thoroughly combined. Place the mixture into a 3-quart baking dish.
- Cube the bread, place it in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process until you have coarse crumbs. Stir in the second portion of the reserved bacon.
- Sprinkle the bacon/breadcrumb mixture over the pasta. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden; about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Chop basil and sprinkle on top of the macaroni and cheese before serving.
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