bacon mac n’ cheese

We had some family friends over for dinner last night. I wanted to serve up something easy to make, so that I didn’t spend the evening in the kitchen, and more importantly, something that the four kids (ages 5 4, 3 and 2) would eat without complaint. I decided that macaroni and cheese was the way to go. I found some bacon in the fridge and knew for sure I had to use it in my meal! Bacon and cheese? You can’t go wrong! A quick google search landed me on this Michael Smith recipe and since I normally love his recipes, I was going to give it a try.
The recipe was super easy to make and  the end result was smokey and cheesy, and gooey. Everyone gobbled it up, grown-ups and kids alike!

 Bacon Mac n’ Cheese
1 lb pasta, cooked and drained
1 pound bacon, chopped
1 cup water
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup Flour
5 cups milk
1 pound sharp, old cheddar, shredded
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
sprinkle salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
4 slices whole grain bread, torn into large pieces
olive oil to drizzle

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Toss the chopped bacon and water into a thick-bottomed stockpot over medium-high heat. By adding water you allow the bacon to gradually release its fat and brown evenly without burning. Continue cooking until the water evaporates and the bacon crisps nicely.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, but leave the fat. Add the garlic and stir for several minutes to release its flavor. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a roux. Cook for a few minutes more to toast the roux until it browns and you cook off the flour flavour.

Add the milk and whisk until the sauce is smooth again and continue cooking, and whisking, for about 5 minutes or so, until the sauce is quite thick.

Stir in the cheese, Dijon, paprika, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss in the pasta and the reserved bacon, coat them well with the sauce and turn it all into a 9- X 13-inch (3.5 L) casserole or baking dish.

Toss the bread with a splash or two of olive oil, then sprinkle it over the cheese mixture. Bake until it is heated through and the bread is toasty brown, about 30 minutes or so.



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