|Bacon and Four Cheese Mac and Cheese|
Here’s a great fall comfort food meal to warm your insides on a cold November day. This is a bit of a different version of mac and cheese which, besides cheddar mozza and Parmesan, incorporates the smokiness of bacon and one of my favorites; rich, creamy, smoked Gruyere cheese. Switch up your own favorite cheeses to make your own family favorite version.
Start by cooking to al dente
- 2 cups dry macaroni pasta (rotini is good too)
For the Sauce:
In the microwave, scald
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
In a medium saucepan, slowly fry
- ½ pound smoked bacon
Cook to crisp, rendering out as much of the fat as possible. Drain on paper towels and strain all the fat from the pan. Do not clean the saucepan but return it to the stove and add:
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 clove minced garlic (optional)
Cook together for 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisking constantly, slowly pour in scalded milk. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly. Stir in
- 2 tbsp regular or Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
Grate and blend together:
- 6 ounces mozzarella
- 6 ounces aged cheddar
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 cup grated smoked Gruyere cheese
Reserve 1/3 of this cheese mixture for the top and stir the other 2/3 of the grated cheese into the white sauce.
Butter an 8-10 cup casserole dish. Place 1/3 of the pasta in the bottom of the dish. Pour on 1/3 the sauce. Scatter half the bacon over the surface. Repeat the layers and top with the reserved cheese mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 – 45 minutes depending upon how you like mac and cheese cooked; shorter for creamier, longer for crispy edges as pictured above. If you double this recipe, add additional baking time for larger casserole dish.