It’s about time for a dose of bacon-y comfort food, isn’t it? Homemade mac & cheese is always better than store-bought – and a few strips of bacon puts it over the top! Serve with a big green salad for a simple cold weather Friday night family dinner.
Bacon Mac & Cheese
1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (regular, whole wheat or brown rice)
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
3-4 cups grated aged cheddar (or other meltable cheese)
salt & pepper
2 slices bread, white or anything grainy
2-4 Tbsp. freshly ground Parmesan (or more Prima Donna)
1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Set aside.
In a heavy skillet or medium pot, cook the bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Return the pan with the drippings to the heat and add the butter. When the foam subsides, add the flour and stir, cooking, for a minute. Gradually whisk in about a cup of the milk, whisk until smooth and then add the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the mixture comes to a boil; let it boil gently for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Stir in the cheese, remove from the heat and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta, add the bacon and stir everything together.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, blitz the bread to crumbs; add the Parmesan and oil and pulse to blend well.
Pour the pasta mixture into an appropriately-sized baking dish (9”x13” is about right, or any casserole that will accommodate it), scatter the crumbs overtop and bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly around the edges and golden on top.