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Crispy Bacon Baked Macaroni & Cheese

By Chef Christopher Collins, Common Ground Culinary

Ingredients

Bacon and blonde roux

  • 8 oz. small-diced bacon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of Half & Half

Macaroni mix

  • 1 lb. dry pasta (suggestions: pipette, elbow, or cavatelli)
  • 1 lb. of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (crumbled stale white bread)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

Instructions

In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté diced bacon in butter until golden brown. Lower heat to medium-low and add the flour. We are using the butter and fat from the cooked pancetta to create a blonde roux.

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the flour begins to take on a little color, about 5-6 minutes. Once the roux is a golden blonde, add Half & Half and turn the heat back to medium-high, stirring constantly throughout this process. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Your roux will thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. That’s when you turn the heat down to low.

Hold sauteed bacon and blonde roux on low until ready.

Cook dry pasta 2 minutes less than instructed on the package. Drain pasta and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add remaining ingredients and gently fold with a rubber spatula until well combined. Add your bacon and roux to the mixing bowl and gently fold together.

Spray a 9-x-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place macaroni mix in baking dish.

Combine all ingredients for the breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl and gently toss.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Top macaroni mix evenly with shredded sharp cheddar. Top shredded sharp cheddar evenly with perfect breadcrumbs

Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 30 minutes

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Common Ground Culinary