Mac and cheese is a classic recipe for a reason, it's delicious. Put a twist on a family favorite and make this Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe that everyone in the family will love. This recipe also somehow becomes better as a leftover, however it probably won't be in your fridge for too long!
How to cook bacon with no mess
I learned a bacon cooking hack a while ago and will never look back. There is no mess, no cleanup and it does not take a long time to cook! I make my bacon now in the oven and cook in in a foil lined pan with a metal cooling rack on top. This allows the fate to drip down from the bacon and the bacon to become crispy. The grease burns off in the oven and once the pan is cool, I fold up the aluminum foil and toss it into the trash!
What kind of cheese to use
I like to use a blend of cheeses, but I primarily use cheddar cheese as it has a good melting point and becomes very smooth. Sharp cheddar is preferred, but a cheddar blend also works really well. I also add in a bit of parmesan to balance out the flavor. Stay away from very hard cheeses or crumbly cheeses as they will melt differently and alter the texture of the sauce.
How to make a roux based sauce
Making a sauce from a roux base is a classic and easy way to make a sauce. First start by bringing your pan to a medium-high heat. Add in equal parts by weight butter and flour. Cook the roux mixture until it begins to turn tan and develops a nutty smell. You'll want to stir this fairly continuously as both the butter and the flour will burn easily.
For light colored sauces, stop the roux once it begins to have a nutty aroma. For darker sauces and more flavor, continue cooking the roux until it is a dark tan (this is used a lot in cajun cooking as it has more flavor).
make it a meal
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Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 1 Pound Dried Pasta Elbows, shells or Cavatappi preferred
- ½ Pound Bacon
- ½ Cup Butter
- ½ Cup Flour
- 1 ½ Cups Milk
- 2 Cups Half and Half
- 1 Tsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Ground Mustard
- 2 Cups Sharp Cheddar
- 1 Cup Cheddar Jack
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place bacon in an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake until crisp. Remove bacon from sheet and let cool on a paper towel lined plate. Crumble into chunks.
- Cook pasta per package instructions until al dente. Set aside.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir together until fully incorporated. Cook roux until flour is cooked through and it has a slight nutty aroma.
- Slowly add milk to roux mixture, whisking together so that it is smooth and fully blended together. Add is half and half.
- Add in seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk in cheese and stir until fully incorporated. Let simmer for several minutes until sauce thickens.
- Add pasta to the sauce mixture and adjust seasoning as desired. Stir in crumbled bacon. Serve and enjoy!