Stovetop Bacon Mac and Cheese
Let's talk about sides and mains... Favorite sides or main dishes often times are a carbs!? Right?!
Vegetables are great! But they're not a guilty pleasure. No matter what..anything cheesy always wins! And I'm okay with that. I'll stick to my mac and cheese as a favorite side dish to make for my family and friends.
This one has BACON, what's not to love! This recipe is made on the stovetop, so no need for a baking dish. It's super easy to make! Just really try to grate your own cheese, it makes all the difference.
1 lb. Mezze Maniche pasta
3 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 ½ cups shredded pepper jack cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh cracked pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped pre cooked bacon (10-12 slabs bacon)
Bring a large pot to boil. Season the water with a good amount of salt, once it comes to a boil. Cook the pasta and boil for about 8-10 minutes, until al dente. *Optional-Set aside about ½ cup of pasta water for the end. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat a large pot to medium low, add the bacon into the pan and saute till crispy, should be for about 3-5 minutes. Once crispy, remove the bacon onto a plate lined with a paper towel, leaving about 1 tbsp of the bacon grease in the pot.
Next, place the butter in the pot and let it melt. Add the flour to make a roux (thickener for the sauce). Stir the butter and flour for about 3 minutes, until the flour turns a light brown color.
Keeping the heat on low. Start adding the milk. Stir continuously with a whisk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let it simmer on low heat for about 5-7 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly.
Start adding the cheese in batches, and whisk continuously as you are adding it into the sauce.
Once the cheese is all melted, add the cooked pasta and about ¾ cup of the bacon and mix until all combined. Turn heat off. Top with more crumbled bacon and grated parmesan. Serve immediately.
Note: Allow the pasta to settle into the sauce, it will thicken and stiffen up as it sits and cools on the stovetop. If you did save pasta water, you can add it in little by little to keep the macaroni and cheese saucier.
Avoid pre shredded cheese, fresh shredded cheese melts better and the quality of the taste is much better.