Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese W/Bacon | Brittany's Pantry I knew it!  You saw the blog title, and lured by the cheesy goodness of comfort food, you just had to check it out, right?  Well, be glad you did.  This recipe turned out great.  And I mean great.  My daughter chose the recipe based soley on the picture in the magazine and as it turns out, she has quite an eye.  Who wouldn’t stop and stare at the cover of Octobers Family Circle magazine?  Right smack dab in the middle of that page is an enormous bowl of creamy, cheese covered pasta speckled with salty, crunchy bacon that looks so enticing, you could swear you can smell it fresh from the oven and secretly wish you could lick the paper.  I mean, lets be honest.  Everything is better with bacon.  Pasta, sandwiches, breakfast, fruit-all is improved with the addition of super salty fried strips of pork.  And pasta with cheese?  A true crowd pleaser!  Why else do you think it is on the kids menu of every restaurant in existence!  My family is no exception.  And when paired with a light, mixed greens salad tossed in a vinaigrette, you have a perfect, french inspired meal.  Warm and gooey, its perfect for a night when the temperature dips below 50.  This recipe has four kinds of cheese, but don’t worry.  All can be found at even the tiniest of super markets.  Cavatappi, the pasta called for in this recipe, and my personal favorite for this kind of meal, might be harder to locate.  Just use good old elbow macaroni, small shells, mini-penne, orechette, ditalini, or any other small pasta you have on hand.  Leftovers were great the next day.  One macaroni and cheese recipe down, about thirty more to go.  Mmmm.  Bring it on.

When I pulled it from the oven, I may have drooled just a bit…

Note: I recently broke this casserole dish and had to replace it.  I purchased this one and I really really love it! It is perfect for a bazillion different recipes and is an indispensable dish in my kitchen! This one is great too!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Family Circle

1 lb cavatappi, cooked according to pkg directions

6 slices bacon, diced and fried till crisp.  Drain.
3 T unsalted butter
3 T flour
2 c 2% milk
1 T dried onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c shredded colby-jack cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella
8 slices American cheese

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in flour.  Cook for 1 minute over medium heat and slowly pour in milk, whisking continuously.  Stir in onion flakes and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss together shredded cheeses.  Remove milk mixture from heat and stir in the American cheese and 1 heaping c of the mixed cheeses.  Mix chopped cooked bacon with remaining shredded cheeses.  Combine cooked pasta with the cheese sauce.  Pour half into a buttered 3 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with half of the bacon-cheese mixture.  Pour on the rest of the pasta and top with the last of the shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until slightly bubbly and browned on top.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.