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Herbed Muenster Mac and Cheese with Bacon


Herbed Muenster Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Teresa Finney
Feel free to swap out the sage and/or thyme for your favorite herbs—oregano and basil are good bets.
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

HERBED BREADCRUMBS

  • 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
  • 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

Instructions
 

HERBED BREADCRUMBS

  • ►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.

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