Did I have to say anything else? Bacon Mac and Cheese. That is all. That’s all there is. This is perfection. It’s the most awesome combination there is. Let me take you on a quick story of my life. It’s also an awesome post since it’s Fat Tuesday.
I made this on Sunday. My allergies were acting up. It was cold (shocker), but seriously. It’s MARCH. and we have ANOTHER polar vortex. The collective face expression I see from everybody was “WHY”. I do believe the groundhog or whatever animal says that winter will be over lied. I also do not understand why we are looking for an animal to tell you if the weather is going to be better. I’ll ask Moe what he thinks.
Well. He wasn’t in a talking mood. But I can tell you he’s over winter.
Anyways. I went to the grocery store after work and they had a BUTCHER SALE. It was awesome. And I saw some pretty thick cut bacon for sale. So I grabbed one. It was $2.00. I couldn’t say no. Would you?! I had an epiphany. I had all of the ingredients for Mac and cheese. EXCEPT some milk. So I went to the dairy aisle and some Coldplay was blasting (which meant I was making the right decisions). I danced my way to the check out (fine, I didn’t. I wanted to), and went home. I had a vague idea on how to do the Mac and cheese, but it was a while. How hard can it be!? Make a roux, add dairy. More dairy, MORE dairy, add it to a pasta. Bake until perfection.
So I made it my mission to make awesome bacon Mac. I did look online about baking my bacon because quite honestly, I didn’t want to make bacon on the stove. So I checked out Downshiftology’s website and YouTube to check it out. It was simple! Place bacon on parchment paper. 400 degrees. Leave it for 15 mins. Done.
This is how I made my bacon Mac and cheese:
- 16 ounces of penne rigate (or whatever pasta you want)
- 10 tablespoons of butter (6 tablespoons for the roux, 4 tablespoons
for crispy topping)
- 4 cups of dairy (I used 3.5 cups of 2 % milk, 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream)
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 4 cups of extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
- S & P to taste
- 1.5 cups of Panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 tsp paprika (I had some smoked paprika)
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
How to make it!
- Preheat oven for 350. I had the oven for 400 so, I could just wait until it went down to 350. I greased it with some cooking spray.
- Start cooking pasta (I cooked the pasta for 9 minutes)
- In my Dutch oven I melted 6 tablespoons over medium high heat. When it was melted, I added SLOWLY added the flour. This is making a roux. Keep mixing for about 1 minute, this will make the flour cook and take the “flour” taste away.
- Add the milk mixture slowly and mix until somewhat thick. I added the garlic at this point. I also started to add the 4 cups of cheese in 2 cup increments. Leave 2 cups for later.
- Add the pasta to this mix.
- In a big casserole dish put half of this mixture. Here’s where I add my bacon and last 2 cups of cheese. Then add the last bit of mac and say good night to that bacon goodness. (I used half a pack of bacon, so now you have bacon to much on. if you use the whole packet of bacon. You do you boo. I wont tell. Quite honestly. I support you. This is a non judgment zone.)
- Use the Parmesan cheese, Panko breadcrumbs, and 4 tablespoons of butter (which should be melted) and make a yummy Panko crumb for the top of the Mac and cheese.
- Set the pan into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the Panko bread crumbs are crispy and brown and delicioso.