Mac and Cheese With Bacon

Mac and Cheese With Bacon

October 14, 2009

22

Mac and cheese is definitely up there with my top favorite foods. There’s absolutely never a bad time for mac and cheese; it’s so comforting and just plain delicious. OK, so it’s not the healthiest thing in the world. Soooo I decided to make it even less healthy. My friend Kyle and her fiance, Jeff, were having an Octoberfest/housewarming party last weekend and I wanted something to bring along. It was a little cool out, so I wanted to make something warm and homey. Mac and cheese? Good. Mac and cheese with bacon? Best idea I’ve ever had. Actually, it was Tyler Florence’s idea, but I usually trust him. With good reason.

Mac and Cheese With Bacon (Serves 6-8 but I came close to doubling it for the party):

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 4 C milk
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and divided
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 C flat lead parsley, chopped
  • 8 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper

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Get your pasta cooking first. It will probably need to boil for about 8-9 minutes to be al dente. Drain it when it’s done. The next partΒ  is what I really feel makes the recipe. Besides the bacon, of course. You’re going to heat your milk with thyme sprigs and garlic cloves. This thyme infused milk is such an awesome idea!

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I improvised with the cookery I used since I was making such a big batch. But Tyler Florence says to melt your butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Then whisk in the flour and stir constantly to keep lumps from forming, for about 1 minute.

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I also took this opportunity to throw some bacon on the skillet. Tyler Florence just wants us to use bacon for the top of our mac and cheese, but I thought this dish would be so much better if bacon was mixed in as well. And I was right. So, I used four for the mac and cheese mixture and 4 for the topping.

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Back to the butter and flour mixture, now you’re going to want to strain the solids out of the milk (thyme and garlic) and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture until it’s nice and smooth. Also add 4 cups of the cheese in and stir so the cheese melts. The key here is to buy SHARP cheese. The sharper it is, the more delicious your mac and cheese will be! Tyler calls for white, but I bought a yellow/white mixture. Why? Because I needed 4 bags of it and Stop and Shop had the yellow/white combo for 2/$5 and buy one get one free. Amazing deal! And the yellow added a bit of color πŸ™‚ Season with salt and pepper here too.

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Add in your cooked macaroni and the parsley and mix it all up.

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Here’s where I added my bacon in too.

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Dish the mac and cheese into a 3 quart baking dish. I used two! I also added the rest of the cheese on top. And I popped them in the oven for 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

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While they were baking, I got going on my topping. I used some of the bacon fat from the bacon I already cooked. Then I added my chopped onion, garlic, and thyme leaves. I cooked them for about 5 minutes to soften the onion and seasoned with salt and pepper.

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I threw the bacon into the onion mixture as well. Then my mac and cheese was ready!

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So I took it out of the oven, and topped it with the onion bacon mixture.

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This is comfort food at its best. No it’s not good for you nutritionally. But it’s good for your soul. And sometimes you really need that. The thyme-infused milk, sharp cheese, and bacon really make this dish what it is.

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If you’re a fan of mac and cheese, but want to jazz it up a bit, this is perfect. Kyle’s fiance Jeff is an awesome cook, so there was plenty of good food at their party (chili, stuffed mushrooms, baked stuffed potatoes, etc.), so it seemed like the mac and cheese fit right in with a comfort theme! I thought I was in love with mac and cheese before, but I had no idea what I was missing. It’s getting chilly out there and this is the best way to warm up!

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22 Responses to "Mac and Cheese With Bacon"

  1. Cahide says:

    Hello! I like your site.I m from turkey Cahide….
    My blog:http://cahideninelleri.wordpress.com/

  2. this looks delicious…for some reason i never think to put bacon in my mac & cheese, but i am going to next time. Is there a reason you put the onions on top as opposed to in the mix?

  3. Kristen says:

    making this immediately. i should probably leave work and go do this. it somehow seems much more imporant right now.

  4. β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯ Cheese, bacon AND Tyler Florence β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯ *swoooon* there SO is a God HA! I made seafood pasta with white wine cram sauce on Tuesday & added diced pork belly… OH MY you HAVE to try. It doesn’t have the smokiness like bacon but the texture & flavor is out of control!!! β™₯

  5. Michelle says:

    Well I’ve found the new dish I’ll be contributing to the Thanksgiving Family Potluck.

  6. Monica says:

    This dish sounds delicious. I will definitely be making this in the next few weeks. The best part for me is, the recipe is easy to convert into a gluten and dairy free recipe. Thank you.

  7. Bacon and cheese!?! YUMMM

  8. Jessie says:

    oh my god that looks amazing!

  9. Megan says:

    That looks so so yummy. But I never want to make new mac and cheese recipes b/c MARTHA’s is so ridiculously delicious. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, but it’s here http://www.marthastewart.com/article/perfect-macaroni-and-cheese

    I’ve never had anything so delish. EVER. That Martha knows what she’s doing…

  10. emily says:

    im drooling here!! looks so delicious πŸ™‚

  11. I have never been a huge Mac & Cheese fan but yours looks AMAZING!!!

    =) Laura @ Finding A Healthy Balance…..after a 100+ POUND weight loss!

  12. Karena says:

    Bacon makes everything better!! πŸ˜‰ Did you do individual portions or one big dish? I kinda love getting a little ramekin of mac n cheese…it’s just a little bowl of comfort!!

  13. katelin says:

    oh that looks delicious too! maybe i’ll have to make this with my leftover elbow macaroni, haha.

  14. Karine says:

    Mac and cheese and bacon! That is a great deal! πŸ™‚

  15. sophia says:

    Wow. I would EAT this in a heartbeat, forget it if it’s my last one!! WOW!!!!! I also made something like this, but mine was with kabocha and zucchini….Check it out: http://burpandslurp.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/im-a-shameless-cheese-whore/

  16. Nicole says:

    Holy crap on a cracker! That mac and cheese looked so amazing and worth every.single.calorie. If you’re going to indulge, go all the way! Plus, if it’s a special occasion such as a dinner party, bring something that people are going to go ga-ga over! I often times struggle with what to bring to a party. I want it to be healthy but I also want people to love it. I try to do both but I will make my decision based on the crowd. It sounds as if your mac & cheese was a crowd pleaser πŸ™‚ Love that pic of the thyme in the milk – it was dreamy (and creamy)!

  17. Kerstin says:

    Best idea ever! Talk about the ultimate comfort dish – yum!

  18. Sarah says:

    That looks so over-the-top great! I’m definitely going to flag this for sometime when I’m lookin’ to indulge in some solid comfort grub. Thanks for posting!

  19. Beth says:

    That looks out of this world! I’m going to have to get my hands on some mac and cheese this week!

  20. kitchenbelle says:

    This mac and cheese looks DIVINE! Bacon is the best ingredient. My mouth is watering!

  21. Stephanie says:

    Great recipe. I used a LOT more garlic and left the cloves in — delicious!

    http://i453.photobucket.com/albums/qq260/claroqsi/IMG_1379.jpg

    I made it in my Martha dish so I thought I’d share: πŸ™‚

    http://i453.photobucket.com/albums/qq260/claroqsi/IMG_1377.jpg

  22. Looks so yummy! Bacon anc cheese go with everything!!!

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