Crazy good and creamy-thick. Serve for a special occasion.
Chipotle-Bacon Mac and Cheese
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Prop Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham
2012 Side Dish Smackdown Winner: Best Mac and Cheese
Yield: Makes 10 servings
More From Southern Living
Total: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes
- 3 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 1 (16-oz.) package cavatappi pasta
- 2 tablespoons corn oil, divided
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 3 cups freshly grated smoked Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
- 6 cooked bacon slices, chopped
- 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 1 gal. water and 1 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in a Dutch oven; add pasta. Cook 8 to 9 minutes or until al dente. Drain; rinse with cold water. Toss with 1 Tbsp. oil.
- 2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. (Do not brown flour.) Add half-and-half, next 2 ingredients, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 6 minutes or until thickened. Gradually add cheeses, stirring until blended. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in cooked pasta. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
- 3. Sauté chipotle pepper in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot corn oil in a small skillet over medium heat 30 seconds or until mixture begins to smoke. Remove from heat, and quickly stir in bacon and panko until coated. Sprinkle mixture over pasta.
- 4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and crisp on top. Serve immediately.
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