Bacon Mac and White Cheese
Posted on: January 23, 2018

Bacon Mac and White Cheese
Serves 6 to 8

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound short penne pasta
1 pound thick sliced bacon, minced
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 small white onion, chopped
¹⁄³ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon dried ground thyme
Salt and black pepper
3½ cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

Grease your Dutch oven insert and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of
the Parmesan cheese around the inside of the dish.
Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring it to a boil over
medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne and
return to a boil. Cook the penne, uncovered, until al dente, about 11
minutes. Drain and set aside.
Place the bacon pieces into a large, deep skillet and cook over
medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned,
about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel–lined plate.
Reserve ¼ cup of the bacon drippings. Set the bacon pieces aside.

Melt the butter and bacon drippings together in a large
saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook and
stir until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour,
stirring frequently, until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
Whisk in the milk a little at a time and bring the mixture to
a simmer, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in the
thyme and salt and pepper, then whisk in the remaining ¼
cup of Parmesan and 3 cups of cheddar cheese, stirring
constantly until the cheese has melted and the sauce is
smooth and thick.  Stir the cooked penne pasta
into the cheese sauce, then gently mix in the cooked bacon. Spread
the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining
½ cup of cheddar cheese over the top. Cover the dish with foil.
Place this in your Dutch oven, cover it, and put 10 coals on top and
6 coals around the outside of the bottom (not underneath). Cook for
about 25 minutes, or until the top layer has browned, then remove
the bottom coals and place them on top for about 5 more minutes.
This will act like a broiler and broil the dish until the cheese topping
is more browned and crisp.


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