These are the ingredients you need to make 5 heaping servings of epic bacon mushroom mac and cheese (ebmmc). I actually forgot the paprika when I was making mine, so you can leave that out if you want. No one’s going to say “ugh! this tastes like crap!” to your ebmmc minus p. You can also add cayenne pepper and turn it into epic spicy bacon mushroom mac and cheese (esbmmc). Use smoked gouda as one of the cheeses for epic spicy smoky bacon mushroom mac and cheese (essbmmc).
Warning: this is a semi complicated and time-consuming recipe! Note that I put it in the ‘epic’ category. It takes an epic amount of time to make, has an epic amount of calories, and involves using and dirtying an epic number of things in your kitchen. But it’s also epically delicious, so totally worth it in my opinion. Uh, and it also took me an epic amount of time to write this post.
Extras you’ll need:
- 10 strips bacon (more, if you really like bacon)
- 2 heaping cups diced brown button mushrooms (about 5-6 medium sized ones)
- 1/2 to 1 cup diced yellow onion (about 2/3 of a large onion)
- 1 Tbsp. butter
To prepare the extras for ebmmc, crisp all of your bacon according to the package instructions (I used Oscar Mayer), then chop it up like so:
To make the mushroom-onion mixture, melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a pan, then add your diced onions and sauté until slightly browned:
Add your diced mushrooms to the pan:
Sautée the mushrooms and onions until the mushrooms have reduced in size and the whole mixture has browned. In the end, I had 1 1/2 cups of the mushroom-onion mixture.
Your extras are done! Now it’s time to make the mac and cheese.
Mac and Cheese Ingredients
- 4 cups dry pasta (suggested: elbow macaroni or penne)
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 heaping tsp. mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 lb. cheese, grated (suggested: sharp cheddar, fontina, gruyere, and/or gouda)
- 1 tsp. salt, + more to taste
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Bread Crumb Topping
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs (1 1/2 cups if you want to fully cover your pasta)
- 3 Tbsp. butter (increase to 5 Tbsp. if using more breadcrumbs)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook your pasta until it’s softened but too firm to eat, then drain. It will soften up more in the oven. [how to cook pasta]
- Beat the egg in a small bowl.
- In a pot large enough to hold all of the macaroni and all of the cheese, melt the 3 Tbsp. butter and whisk in the flour, mustard powder and paprika. Over medium heat, whisk the mixture for 5 minutes. Pour in the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until thick, then reduce heat to low.
- Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into the bowl containing the beaten egg, whisking constantly (you’re trying to avoid cooking the eggs). Whisk together until combined.
- Pour the egg sauce into the milk/flour/butter sauce, whisking constantly until combined. Add in the cheese, salt and pepper and stir until all the cheese is melted.
- As everyone who watches Hell’s Kitchen knows, all good cooks have to taste the food they’re serving their customers, i.e. “Taste taste taste!!!” So now it’s your turn: taste the sauce and add more salt if you think it could use some.
- Fold in the cooked and dry macaroni (or penne) and mix to combine.
- Pour the coated mac and cheese into a large casserole dish.
- In a skillet, melt the butter for the crumb topping and toss the bread crumbs just to coat.
- Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs on top of the macaroni. If you can bear it, sprinkle the macaroni with extra cheese (!) and then top everything off with the buttered bread crumbs.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350, or until golden on top.
Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving. Doesn’t that look amazing?
Here are some less epic variations I think will try next:
- mcp (mac and cheese with pesto)
- mmz (mac and cheese with zucchini)
- mmc (mushroom mac and cheese)
- mcb (mac and cheese with bacon)