Herbed Muenster Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Feel free to swap out the sage and/or thyme for your favorite herbs—oregano and basil are good bets.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 4 to 5 leaves fresh sage finely chopped
MAC AND CHEESE
- 1 pound short pasta try elbows, penne, or shells
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup minced shallots about 2 small shallots
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1½ cups grated muenster cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed
- ►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.
- ►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.
- ►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.
- ►Sprinkle flour into saucepan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until flour has been fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
- ►Slowly whisk in milk and heavy cream. Bring liquid to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- ►Whisk in muenster and parmesan cheeses until melted. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and thyme. Whisk to combine.
- ►Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta and stir to combine. Add reserved chopped bacon and stir to combine.
- ►Transfer mac and cheese to a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle cooled breadcrumbs evenly over the top.
- ►Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese sauce is bubbly around the edges of the baking dish.