Everyone has a comfort food. If you were to ask every person you know what their favorite comfort was I bet 8/10 would say it was mac and cheese. Cheese is nature’s candy… or binding agent, I forget. I figured for my first food post I would expand upon my love of mac and cheese and provide one of the recipes that I use for it. I’ve always loved baked macaroni and cheese, the cheesier the better. What’s better than cheesier? Bacon. Yes! So, what will you need?
- (1) Box of Rigatoni, boiled and strained
- 4-6 slices of cooked, chopped bacon, the thicker the better
- 2 cups of shredded muenster cheese
- 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups of milk or cream (how creamy do you want it?)
- 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp of ground black pepper
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 2 tbsp of flour
- 2 tbsp of butter
- Bread Crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350
Disclaimer! I rarely use measuring units when I cook so if some of these units seem off…well… do what feels right to you! First things first we need to make a roux. Melt 2 tbsp of better in a med saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted throw that flour in! Mix quickly, this should only take a couple seconds. As soon as the flour and butter is mixed add your milk/ cream. Begin stirring immediately. Add onion powder, pepper and crushed red pepper.
Now, if you have sliced cheese, awesome, start tearing it up and tossing it into your milk mixture, stirring every few seconds. If you are using blocks of cheese make sure you have it shredded prior to starting. Alternate between stirring and adding your various cheeses. Your sauce should be beginning to thicken. Once your sauce is cheesy, thick and about the consistency of batter it is done. Add your cooked chopped bacon and remove from heat. Place your cooked rigatoni into a casserole dish and pour cheese sauce of the rigatoni mixing as you go. I sometimes find it easier to mix the sauce and rigatoni in a pot and then add it to a casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and place in preheated oven for 30 mins.