Here’s a comfort food meal that’s sure to inspire moans and groans of happiness – a creamy, decadent baked dish of bacon macaroni and cheese. This recipe is adapted from the bacon cookbook 101 Things To Do With Bacon:
Bacon Mac & Cheese
8 ounces elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup panko crumbs
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the panko crumbs. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until crumbs have absorbed the butter and are lightly browned; reserve.
Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water as package directs. While macaroni is cooking, melt the remaining butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour, stirring until blended. Slowly add the milk, half and half and onion, stirring constantly. Heat until mixture bubbles, and cook for two minutes. Reduce heat and continue cooking for ten minutes, stirring constantly. Add cheese a little at a time, and continue to heat over low heat until cheese is melted. Add all but 1 heaping tablespoon of the crumbled bacon, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked, drained macaroni and mix well. Spread into baking dish, top with panko crumbs and reserved bacon and bake for 20 minutes, until top is lightly browned and bubbling. Makes 4 servings.