Bacon Mac & Cheese
2 Sweet Onions
1 lb of Pasta
6 Strips of Bacon
1/4 Cup Flour
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Cups Milk
1 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesean cheese, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Butter, for Caramelization and toasting breadcrumbs
Salt, for Caramelization
1. Caramelize the Onions
Dice the onions into small pieces.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat. Add a pinch of salt to encourage caramelization. Let them reduce and caramelize for 45-60 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Reduce heat to low if they start cooking too fast. Once they have reached a thick, jam-like consistency, remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Cook the Pasta
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Cook the pasta per package instructions until just al dente. Remove from the heat and strain.
Shock with cold water to halt the cooking process and set aside.
3. Cook the Bacon
Cut the bacon into small pieces.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Evacuate the bacon onto a plate lined with paper towels. Remove some, but not all, of the grease.
While the bacon is draining, preheat oven to 350F.
4. Make Cheese Sauce
Add flour to remaining bacon fat and whisk. Cook, stirring vigorously, for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and and add the heavy cream in splashes, stirring constantly. Adding the dairy too quickly will cause the roux to break. Once all cream has been added, add the milk in the same manner.
Add the mustard powder, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Gradually sprinkle in the cheeses, stirring continuously until incorporated.
5. Toast the Breadcrumb Topping
Add panko, melted butter, and oil to a skillet. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the crumbs are golden brown. Set aside.
6. Assemble and Bake
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, caramelized onion, bacon, and cheese sauce. Stir thoroughly to combine and pour into an 8x8 baking dish.
OPTIONAL: Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on top.
Top with toasted breadcrumbs.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm.