One of my most requested recipes is honestly not mine. Shameful I know but you cannot mess with perfection and Kelsey has perfected this one. Creamy cheeses perfectly paired and melted slowly together making the best mac and cheese you have ever had. Bold statement right? It’s a bold recipe.
Kelsey Nixon’s Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese
1 pound of pasta, your choice
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup, plus 1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley
6 slices bacon, cooked reserved 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat
Béchamel sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups hot milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
Boil water for pasta, once boiling please cook until almost al dente and drain. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make béchamel sauce, melt butter in 12 inch oven proof skillet. Whisk in flour and stir constantly until it starts to bubble, around 2 minute (don’t let it brown). Gradually add the hot milk and stir constantly until thickened. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, reduce heat and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat.
On a low heat add the dry mustard and cayenne pepper to the béchamel sauce. Either take the skillet off the heat or on the lowest setting you have and add cheese, stir quickly until smooth (this is key to avoiding that gritty cheese texture). Add the milk and cream to the sauce to thin it out a bit.
In another skillet brown bacon until crispy, reserve 1/4 cup bacon fat. Add cooked pasta to béchamel sauce. In a separate bowl mix bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and bacon fat, sprinkle this mixture over the pasta mixture. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup parmesan on top of the pasta as well. Bake until top is browned between 20-25 minutes depending on your ovens heat. Enjoy!