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Herbed Muenster Mac and Cheese with Bacon


Herbed Muenster Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Serves 8
Feel free to swap out the sage and/or thyme for your favorite herbs—oregano and basil are good bets.
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HERBED BREADCRUMBS
  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup breadcrumbs
  3. 4 to 5 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped
MAC AND CHEESE
  1. 1 pound short pasta (try elbows, penne, or shells)
  2. 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  3. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. ¼ cup minced shallots (about 2 small shallots)
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  7. 2 cups whole milk
  8. ½ cup heavy cream
  9. 1½ cups grated muenster cheese
  10. ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  11. 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  12. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  13. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  14. 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
HERBED BREADCRUMBS
  1. ►Melt butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle in fresh sage and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. ►Cook bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat until browned and crisp. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate and cool. Roughly chop bacon and set aside.
  3. ►Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Cook until shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. ►Sprinkle flour into saucepan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until flour has been fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
  5. ►Slowly whisk in milk and heavy cream. Bring liquid to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. ►Whisk in muenster and parmesan cheeses until melted. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and thyme. Whisk to combine.
  7. ►Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta and stir to combine. Add reserved chopped bacon and stir to combine.
  8. ►Transfer mac and cheese to a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle cooled breadcrumbs evenly over the top.
  9. ►Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese sauce is bubbly around the edges of the baking dish.
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