Alternately titled “Best Mac & Cheese Ever”. ;)
Honestly, I’m not much of a mac & cheese person but I tend to experiment with it a lot since Spencer loves it and I get tired of his favorite version that features diced ham and canned mushrooms.
Awhile back I saw a recipe for bacon macaroni and cheese and made a mental note to remember it but then what happened? I forgot where I saw it. Doesn’t that always happen? So I set out to come up with my own recipe and it’s perfect. So ridiculously decadent with all the cheese and bacon and baby bella mushrooms. I even used heavy cream but regular milk would work just fine.
- Bring a lot pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stir, and let boil.
- While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is cooked and slightly crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Pour off some of the bacon grease (or all & add a little more olive oil to the pan) and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until mixture is smooth. Slowly add in chicken broth and cream, whisking the whole time. Continue whisking until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Once pasta is al dente, drain and put in large bowl. Add bacon, mushrooms, and cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour into prepared 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle panko bread crumbs over the entire pan and spray lightly with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until pasta is bubbly and panko is slightly browned.