I’m a sucker for mac and cheese. As a kid, I think I consumed a lifetime’s worth of Kraft, only to learn that the blue box was not true mac and cheese. There are people who actually make it from scratch. And come to find out, it’s not nearly as hard as it seems to make.
In fact, when I was in high school, I remember cooking my first real batch of mac and cheese by lamplight in the middle of winter at a camp. Despite feeling very rustic, the combination of cheese, milk, and pasta was enough to hook me into trying it again on my own. I’ve made baked mac and cheese, but this time, I was up for stove-top, without the crunch, but with the bacon.
Stove-Top Bacon Mac and Cheese
1/2 pound bacon, cooked crispy and diced
8 oz of radiatore pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1/4 medium onion, diced
In a large pan on medium-high heat, cook bacon and onions. Once bacon is crispy, remove both bacon and onions from pan, place on a paper towel to absorb oil, then dice. Set aside.
Drain bacon fat from pan, then add butter, flour, and mustard powder. Cook on medium heat under browned and becomes a paste. Slowly add milk, mixing to combine. Cook for another 6-8 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Add cheddar and cook another 5 minutes, making sure all cheese is melted.
Cheese mixture should be thickened, but still stirrable. Fold in bacon and onions. Then fold in pasta, one third of the pasta at a time until evenly coated. If sauce is too thick, add a 1/4 cup of milk, stir, and cook for another couple minutes. Serve, adding salt and pepper to season as needed.