This Bacon Mac and cheese recipe will have everyone asking for more.
Knowing there will be bacon and pasta involved my excitement level is one of a child, staring at their presents just before opening on Christmas morning. Is this really happening because it seems so magical. When I see the bubbling and hear the popping sound of the cheese coming out of the oven; while my house smells of bacon. I don’t think any pasta dish gets better then this. I’ve attempted many mac and cheese recipes before, hands down I declare this the best one.
I’ve learned a few important steps in making this Bacon Mac and Cheese that can either make it or break it.
- Gruyere cheese in my opinion is amazing and it is what gives the dish it’s creamy texture, but you must buy high quality gruyere. If you buy low grade cheese it has a very bitter and strong flavor. I tasted the low grade and was disgusted, I went to Whole Foods (local food market) and splurged on their caved aged gruyere. “Oh the beautiful harmony of smooth velvety rich taste”
- Thick apple smoked bacon. Not my first choice as a breakfast side, but in certain recipes its a fine gem. Just make sure you cut off the excess fat, cut into even tiny pieces and cook until crispy.
- The NOODLE! Organic Conchiglie, why you ask. They have the perfect size and shape to capture the right amount of cheese into each shell. When biting into the noodle the cheese bursts out of the shell giving you a life altering experience.
With all that said “YES!” this is the best mac n’ cheese ever! You must know when to splurge on ingredients and this is a perfect example of when it matters.
Just my opinion, but doesn’t Bacon make almost everything taste amazing 🙂
- Béchamel sauce:
- ¼ cup bacon fat
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups warm whole milk
- salt and pepper
- Mac n' cheese:
- 1 package apple smoked bacon (about 12 ounces)
- 1 pound pasta (recommended Conchiglie or big shells)
- 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2¼ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1¼ cup of gruyere cheese
- 1½ cup parmesan romano or parmesan
- 1 cup warm milk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2½ tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- prep all cheeses and chop parsley
- preheat oven to 400 degrees
- cut bacon into small square pieces removing some of the fat if needed
- cook in large skillet until crispy
- while bacon is cooking start water for noodles and warm milk in small sauce pan
- remove bacon from the pan set aside on paper towel
- use the same pan with the bacon fat to start the béchamel sauce
- Add noodles to salted boiling water and cook until al dente
- whisk in the flour and cook stirring continuously to avoid browning takes approx. 2 min
- add 3 cups of the hot milk slowly while stirring and bring the sauce to a boil
- add the salt and pepper to taste
- reduce the heat to med low and cook 2-3 more minutes
- over low heat stir in dry mustard and cayenne pepper
- gradually add cheddar gruyere and 1 cup of parmesan romano cheese stirring constantly until all the cheese is melted
- add the additional cup of milk and ¼ cup of heavy cream
- add the pasta to the béchamel and stir to coat evenly
- transfer to a 9x13 baking dish
- in small bowl mix panko bread crumbs butter and chopped parsley
- sprinkle over mac n' cheese
- sprinkle the top with ½ cup parmesan
- cook until golden brown and bubbling about 25 min
- top with pieces of bacon