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There aren’t many things I love more in the world that macaroni and cheese.
Well, maybe bacon.
And cheese alone.
And sea-salted chocolate.
Don’t make me choose! Choosing a favorite food is like trying to choose a favorite movie. Or a favorite song. Or book.
I’m so indecisive.
I used white pasta. Sue me.
Sometimes it’s just so good in mac ‘n cheese. My inner Mother Lovett refused whole wheat this time.
Using the white pasta added a more creamy taste and softness to the dish. Orecchiette is my favorite.
I love, love, love this apple smoked cheddar cheese. I eat it on just about everything.
Just look at how cute the pasta is.
My roux – a la Mother Lovett.
To possibly make things even less healthier, I added a heavy dose of heavy cream. It looked heavy. And creamy.
I grated the cheese myself. It melts easier, and I prefer to grate my own. I think it tastes better.
A touch of nutmeg. Just because.
To test the creaminess, dip a spoon in and judge for yourself. I dipped about 67 spoons.
My favorite – applewood smoked bacon.
I just ripped it apart with my hands.
Pre-cheese sauce addition.
Mid-cheese sauce addition.
Post-cheese sauce addition.
Have you had any panko in your life recently? If not, please get some.
See the cheese sauce bubbling in the corner? This was fresh out of the oven.
Clogged arteries, what what?!
Ok calm down. A few spoonfuls of this won’t clog your arteries. Eating this entire 2-person casserole dish stuffed with smoked cheddar bacon mac 3 days a week might, but I don’t know anyone who would do that.
I like to test my limits.
Smoked Cheddar Bacon Mac
2 cups orrechiette pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups grated smoked cheddar cheese – depends on desired consistency.
1/4 pound applewood smoked bacon
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste
a pinch of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400.
Cook your bacon – either pan fry or bake it. Baking it was easier since I already had a few other pans going on the stove. Once cooked, let drain on a paper towel, then chop into tiny bits.
Boil salted water & add pasta when ready. Cook & remove. Set aside.
In a small saucepan on low-medium heat, whisk 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour to create a roux. Add half of heavy cream and half of chicken stock. Add in half of the smoked cheddar cheddar cheese. Continuously stir so cheese does not stick to bottom. Alternately add more cheese, heavy cream and chicken stock until you reach desired consistency. Add a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Layer pasta and half of bacon in a casserole dish. Add cream sauce over top. Sprinkle on remaining bacon and panko breadcrumbs.
Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did. Considering I ate the entire dish myself, I would certainly say I enjoyed it. :)