If I had to make a list of my top 5 foods, pasta and cheese would definitely be up there. A big bowl of cheesy, gooey mac & cheese a great meal for a cold day (or a hot day). Add bacon and croutons to that and you’ve got a damn good dish.
1 package of Pasta
4-5 slices of thick cut bacon or pancetta, cubed
3-4 slices of bread
2 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
2 cups of grated cheese
I like to use a few different kinds of cheese to make this. This time I used old cheddar, gouda, parmesan and asiago. You can use any type of short cut pasta you like.
Grate all the cheese. If you can, find a helper so your arms don’t get so tired. Put the cheese out of sight so you don’t eat it all while prepping the other ingredients.
Cut your bacon/pancetta into cubes (or buy it pre-cut like I did). Cook it over medium heat until it browns. Once it’s done, transfer to a separate bowl. Do not get rid of the fat left in the pan.
Cut the bread into cubes. I’ve used everything from french bread to light rye to make these. It’s best if the bread is a day or two old, if it’s too fresh it’s harder to work with. Toss a couple of tablespoons of butter into the skillet you used for the bacon (which should still have bacon fat in it). Let it melt, then toss in the bread. Make sure the bread gets fairly evenly coated then fry until it’s a nice golden colour.
The bacon and croutons can be cooked a bit in advance if you want to do that. Let your pasta cook while you’re doing the next few steps. I generally boil it for 1 minute less than the time recommended on the packaging, since it will cook some more in the oven.
Now it’s time to make the sauce. Heat the milk in a small saucepan. In a separate, large pot or deep pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Heat the butter until it starts bubbling. Once it’s bubbling start adding the flour, and whisk away! After about a minute, slowly pour the hot milk into the butter/flour mixture. Keep whisking until it starts thickening, then remove the pan from the heat.
Add in 3/4 of the grated cheese and mix until smooth. Add salt, pepper and chili powder to taste.
Your pasta should be cooked and strained by now. Add it to the pot with the sauce and mix around to ensure all the pasta gets coated. (This is why you needed to use such a big pot).
Pour the pasta into a greased baking dish.
Add the bacon and croutons on top, followed by the remainder of the cheese.
Cook in the oven at 375°F for 25 minutes.
Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve. Enjoy!
- 1 package of Pasta
- 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon or pancetta, cubed
- 3-4 slices of bread
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups of grated cheese
- chili powder
- Grate all the cheese
- Cut bacon into cubes/slices and cook over medium heat until browned, then remove
- Add butter to the bacon fat in the pan
- Fry the cubes of bread until they are golden
- Cook pasta in salted water for 1 minute less than recommended, then drain
- Heat milk in a small saucepan
- Heat butter in the pasta pot (pasta should be in the strainer) until it bubbles
- Slowly add flour to the butter while whisking
- Slowly pour the milk into the pasta pot. Keep whisking until it thickens
- Remove pot from heat and add ¾ of the grated cheese
- Mix until smooth, add salt, pepper and spices to taste
- Add the pasta back to the pot and coat with the sauce
- Pour the pasta into a greased baking dish
- Add the rest of the cheese, the bacons and croutons on top
- Bake in the oven at 375°F for 25 minutes