My Recipe Box

Bacon and Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

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Server 4 to 6

  • by Lisa Schroeder from Mother's Best

When looking for inspiration for my macaroni and cheeses, I turned to stuffed potatoes and omelets, believing that what works well with eggs and potatoes would be delicious with pasta, too. Boy, was I right! Bacon, Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classic additions to stuffed potatoes, and with pasta they’re perfection.

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta water
  • 1 lb.fusilli (corkscrew) or other pasta
  • 3/4 lb. bacon, diced
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups firmly packed shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 1/2 lb.)
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, (white and green parts), for garnish

Bring a medium (6- to 8-quart) pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously (it should taste like the sea). Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain (but don’t rinse, or you’ll rinse away starches that will help thicken the sauce) and return to the empty pot.

Meanwhile, place a large (12- to 14-inch) sauté pan over high heat for several minutes. When hot, add the bacon and sauté until browned and crispy (lower the heat to medium-high if necessary to prevent scorching), about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Pour off the fat from the pan (into a metal can or heatproof cup, not down the drain or you’ll potentially clog your pipes) and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the cream is reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add the Cheddar cheese and bacon. Stir well and cook over medium-high heat, stirring now and then, until the cheese has melted and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.

Stir the sauce into the cooked and drained pasta in the pot. Place over medium heat and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken the sauce and allow the pasta to absorb the flavors, stirring now and then.

Serve in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

Variations

Lorraine Mac and Cheese: You can easily change up this recipe by using the classic flavors of a quiche Lorraine for inspiration. You just have to add caramelized onions and substitute Swiss cheese for the Cheddar. Pour off all but 2 Tbs. grease from the cooked bacon. Add 2 cups of finely sliced yellow onions and sauté over medium heat until soft, brown, and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Pour in the 3 cups of cream and continue with the recipe, substituting firmly packed shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese for the Cheddar. If you have cooked, crumbled bacon and caramelized onions on hand, the recipe is even easier. When stirring the cheese into the reduced cream, just add 1 cup bacon crumbles and 1/2 cup caramelized onions, too. Then proceed with the recipe.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

BEST macaroni and cheese I have ever made, or had. I had pancetta I needed to use so I used pancetta instead of bacon. Everything else I followed to a "T". I was cooking fried chicken along with mashed potatoes so I ended up throwing the macaroni and cheese into the oven, I now understand why they suggest serving it immediately. It was still amazing, though a little drier than when I initially cooked it. I will ABSOLUTELY make this again and again and again. PS - My husband calls this "Mac n' Crack" ;-)

This is a great mac and cheese recipe and fairly easy and quick. I added in steamed broccoli florets to the final mixture as well as mixing in the sour cream instead of using it on top and it was delicious. Also, I used whipping cream instead of heavy cream and if I make it again, I might even try to see if whole milk would work.

This mac and cheese is dangerously good! How could it not be? Bacon, cheese and sour cream??? Since I love veggies, I stir fried some asparagus and mushrooms in the bacon grease and tossed it in with the macaroni. It helped ease my guilt:)

What can go wrong when you combine bacon and cheese? Absolutely nothing! The macaroni and cheese is very rich and is enough to fill up any hungry linebacker. Perfect on a cold, or rainy day. I also saved some of the cooked bacon to garnish on top of the macaroni with the sour cream. It makes for an elaborate presentation...for mac 'n cheese!

I love Mac and Cheese, and I love bacon, so I figured I'd love this recipe. Holy cow! This recipe is pure decadence. The smoky bacon plays perfectly off the sharp tang of the cheddar. A touch of fresh ground black pepper gives it just enough bite. I could sit an eat the whole batch with a big spoon, but out of respect for my arteries, I'll resist. My wife was initially skeptical of bacon in mac & cheese, but one bite won her over.

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