Few dishes evoke a sense of comfort quite like macaroni and cheese. But what happens when you take this classic comfort food to the next level? Introducing Bacon Macaroni and Cheese – a rich and creamy blend of tender pasta, velvety cheese sauce, and the irresistible smokiness of crispy bacon. This recipe combines the familiar warmth of mac and cheese with the savory indulgence of bacon, creating a dish that’s perfect for both cozy family dinners and special occasions. Let’s dive into this delicious fusion of flavors and textures!
- 8 oz (about 2 cups) elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta shape
- 6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional, for extra creaminess)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional, for flavor)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Prepare the Pasta:
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the Bacon:
- In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease. Once cooled, crumble the bacon into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Make the Cheese Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for about 2 minutes to create a roux. This will help thicken the sauce.
- Gradually pour in the milk while whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Continue cooking and whisking until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add Cheese and Flavor:
- Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses to the sauce. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the Dijon mustard (if using), smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. These additions will enhance the flavor profile of the dish.
- Combine Pasta and Sauce:
- Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring gently to coat the pasta evenly.
- Incorporate Bacon:
- Fold in most of the crumbled bacon, reserving a small amount for garnish. The bacon will add a savory crunch to every bite.
- Serve and Garnish:
- Transfer the Bacon Macaroni and Cheese to a serving dish. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled bacon over the top for an enticing visual appeal.
- Garnish and Enjoy:
- Finish off with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley for a touch of color and freshness. Serve the Bacon Macaroni and Cheese while it’s still warm and enjoy the harmonious blend of creamy cheese, tender pasta, and smoky bacon.
Conclusion: Bacon Macaroni and Cheese is a mouthwatering twist on the classic comfort food we all know and love. The addition of crispy bacon elevates the dish, providing a burst of smoky flavor and delightful texture. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself to a satisfying meal or impress your guests with a comforting culinary creation, this recipe is a fantastic choice. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and prepare to savor the ultimate comfort in each and every bite!