Smoked Bacon Mac n' Cheese

bacon mac and cheese

Serves: 6

Ingredients

* 1lb Pasta such as Gemelli, Cavatappi or Fusilli
* ½lb smoked Bacon
* 1 stick Butter, unsalted
* 1/2C All-purpose Flour
* 2C Whole Milk
* 1t Black pepper
* 1t Garlic powder
* 1/4t dry Mustard
* 1T salt
* 1lb Cheddar cheese, grated
* ½lb Gruyere, grated
* ¼lb Parmesan, grated
* 1 Bag of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preparation

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and place in refrigerator. In a large pot with 8 quarts of salted water cook the pasta. In a heavy bottom 4-quart stockpot render the sliced bacon slowly to cook out the fat for about 10 minutes.

Remove cooked bacon, cool and then chop bacon finely and place into a medium size bowl. Keep the bacon fat in the pot. Add the panko and grated Parmesan to the chopped bacon. Add remaining butter to stockpot with bacon fat. Bring to low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour to the fat and cook for 8-10 minutes on low heat. Whisk in milk, black pepper, garlic powder, mustard and salt to the flour and fat mixture. Bring to a simmer while continuing to whisk over medium heat. Add the grated cheddar cheese to the milk gradually. Mixture should start to thicken. Stir until smooth.

Add the grated Gruyere to the cold pasta noodles and add the noodles and Gruyere cheese to the chilled baking dish. Pour the hot melted cheddar cheese over the pasta into the baking dish coating evenly. Top with bacon, Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. until golden brown and bubbling.