I love a great mac-n-cheese casserole as much as they next girl, and my favorite way to make it is with bacon. I mean, everything is better with bacon, right? The way I make mine is I make the cheese sauce with just a little bit of the bacon fat that is leftover after I cook the bacon in the skillet. That little infusion of bacon flavor makes all the difference. I also make it with extra sharp cheddar cheese and whole milk to keep it extra creamy and rich. If you are in the mood for a delicious bacony casserole tonight this is the one for one. Don’t believe me? Ask my husband, a bacon fanatic. He nearly polished off the whole pan himself!
The Ultimate Bacon Lovers Mac-n-Cheese
1 pound penne or macaroni
6 to 8 strips bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Cook the pasta according to package directions and set aside. Fry the bacon according to package directions and set aside. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan.
3. In the skillet where you cooked the bacon stir in the flour and milk, then keep stirring it over medium low heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Then add the cheese and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth and season it with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
4. Break the bacon into pieces and add them to a large bowl. Pour in the pasta and cheese sauce and mix everything well. Then pour it into a 13 x 9 baking dish.
5. Toast the panko breadcrumbs in a skillet with the butter until they are light and toasted. Spread them on top of the casserole and bake for 30 minutes or until the macaroni is hot and bubbly.