This Instructable will lead you step by step on how to make Homemade Bacon Mac n' Cheese. Homemade Bacon Mac n' Cheese is easy enough that even a novice cook can make it. Making this will take a little over an hour depending on how fast you can do prep work and how good your oven is. Prep work will take 20-25 minutes while baking will take 30-40 minutes. If you want a delicious meal that your family will beg for you to cook again and again it follow these instructions closely and carefully.
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients
You will need to gather the following ingredients:
- 1 lb dried shell pasta
- 4.5 cups of whole milk
- 5 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 8 oz. of New York Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 7 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 8 oz. of Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp basil
- 2 tbsp of fresh green onion, chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- cayenne pepper
- ground black pepper
- 10 slices of thick cut hardwood smoked bacon
- Seasoned breadcrumbs
Caution:Do not use pre-shredded cheese for this meal. Pre-shredded cheese is covered in an anti-caking powder that will cause the cheese not to melt well. This will cause the cheese sauce to have a weird consistency.
Tip: I recommend gathering, chopping, and shredding all ingredients prior to starting.
Other materials or objects you will need are:
- A sharp chefs knife
- A cutting board
- A whisk
- A spoon
- A measuring utensils including a measuring cup, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1/2 tablespoon
- A large pot
- A large pan
- A 13"X9" glass baking pan
- A cheese grater
- A noodle strainer
- Pam cooking spray
- Paper towels
- A good pair of oven mitts
Step 2: Boil 1 Lb. of Dried Shell Pasta
- Fill a large pot with water.
- Put a pinch of salt in the water.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Insert pasta into the boiling water.
- Strain the noodles once they are soft and tender.
Warning: Boiling water can cause severe burns. Pour your noodles into the strainer with care.
- Rinse the strained noodles under cold tap water to stop them from cooking any more.
Caution: Not running cold tap water might cause the noodles to over cook and become mushy.
- Set the noodles aside until later.
Tip: Save a cup of the starch water you used to cook your pasta in. This may or may not be used later.
Step 3: Fry 10 Pieces of Thick Cut Hardwood Smoked Bacon
- Heat up a large pan on medium high.
- Fry bacon in the pan flipping occasionally until semi crispy.
- Place the bacon onto of a paper towel.
- Blot the bacon with another paper towel to remove the grease.
Caution: Not blotting the grease away will affect the consistency of the cheese sauce.
- Cut the bacon into thinly sliced strips.
Warning: Fried bacon will be hot. Wait for the bacon to cool before handling.
- Set the bacon aside until later.
Step 4: Make the Cheese Sauce
- Heat up the same pot you used to boil the noodles on medium heat.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Melt 5 tbsp of butter until it starts to bubble or simmer.
- Add 4 tbsp of all purpose flower.
- Whisk vigorously until a smooth even texture is achieved.
Note: for steps 6-21 continue whisking vigorously to achieve and smooth even texture.
Caution: Not whisking vigorously for steps 6-21 may case flower to sink, clump, and burn at the bottom of the pot.
- Let the mixture cook for 1-2 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
- Add 1 cup of milk.
- Add 1/2 a tsp of rosemary.
- Add 1/2 a tsp of thyme.
- Add 2 tbsp of basil.
- Add 2 generous pinches of nutmeg.
- Add 2 generous pinches of cayenne pepper.
- Add the last 3.5 cups of milk.
- Add 2 tbsp of fresh chopped green onions.
- Add 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic.
- Add salt and/or black pepper as desired.
Tip: taste it! adjust the seasoning accordingly.
- Increase the heat to high to thicken the sauce.
Note: The sauce should be thick enough to add the cheese when it will coat the back of a utensil.
- Lower the heat back down to medium.
- Add 8 oz. of shredded New York Cheddar cheese.
- Add 7 oz. of shredded Mozzarella cheese.
- Add 8 oz. of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese.
- Turn off heat.
Note: The sauce should be thick and creamy. If you believe the sauce is too thick, add some of the starch water you saved from step 2.
Step 5: Assemble Bacon Mac N' Cheese
- Lightly grease a glass baking pan with Pam. Other cooking spays or butter will also work.
- Pour 1/3 of the noodles in the bottom of the pan.
- Place 1/3 of the chopped bacon.
- Pour 1/3 of the sauce onto the bacon and noodles.
- Mix around with a spoon.
- Repeat 2 through 5 until all the ingredients are used up.
Note: There should be an even distribution of bacon and noodles throughout the pasta.
- Cover the top with a thick layer of bread crumbs.
Step 6: Bake It
The oven should be at 400 degrees Fahrenheit due to you preheating it in step 4.
- Place the glass pan filled with mac n' cheese on the center rack.
- Bake for 35-35 minutes or until the sauce is burbling and the bread crumbs are golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven.
Warning: The pan and mac n' cheese will be extremely hot! It is extremely recommended that you use a pair of good oven mitts.
- Let sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to cool.
Warning: The product will be extremely hot. Make sure it is cool enough before eating or you may burn your mouth.
You now have a delicious meal to serve to your family or horde to yourself if you so choose. You may experiment using different types of cheeses to get different tastes, or add different seasonings. For example I sometimes use Pepper Jack instead of Monterrey Jack and add some hot sauce into the cheese sauce.