Saturday, January 22, 2011

An Old Friend: Pepperjack Bacon Mac & Cheese

In light of my recent giveaway where I asked readers what their favorite recipes were, I decided to re-post one of my personal favorites.

Last April, I adapted Cooks Illustrated's 'Classic Macaroni & Cheese' to include two of Mr. Vittles favorite foods - pepperjack cheese and bacon.

Truthfully, I've never really shared his adoration for these two ingredients, but I must admit - this mac & cheese is... amazing.

Sorry to toot my own horn, but it's the truth.

Whenever we have macaroni & cheese somewhere else now, we both say "Meh.  It's no pepperjack bacon."

Yes.  Much like my brownie snobbery, we've become M&C connoisseurs.

(By the way - I typed the word "connoisseur" 4 times before the red squiggly underline telling me I spelled it wrong disappeared.)

Anywho... I originally posted about this back when I first started Vittles and Bits.  Since then, I've cut down on the amount of cheese sauce made, because I think it made the dish too soupy.  I like my mac & cheese to have a bit more structure. 

And let's face it - the only people that read my blog then were friends or family members.

Not to mention, the original picture I posted was god-awful.

(I've already replaced it.  Despite trying to educate myself, I haven't progressed much with my food photography - but the old one simply didn't do this dish justice.)

So in short - I just had to call the recipe to your attention.  It deserves the spotlight for a day. 

Yeah... it's that good.

Pepperjack Bacon Mac & Cheese

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1 T. salt
  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 T. flour
  • 3/4 t. ground mustard
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 C. milk
  • 8 oz. pepperjack cheese, grated
  • 8 strips of bacon, crumbled or chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 C. panko bread crumbs

Preheat broiler.  Cook elbow macaroni in 4 quarts water with 1 T. salt until tender (just past al dente stage).  Drain macaroni and set aside. 

In now empty pot, melt butter over medium heat until foaming.

Add flour, mustard, cayenne & garlic powder and whisk well to combine.  Continue whisking about 1 minute, until fragrant.

Gradually whisk in milk about a cup at a time, then bring mixture to a boil while whisking constantly.  (This is important - mixture must reach a boil to thicken fully).

Then reduce heat to medium & simmer, whisking occasionally, until consistency becomes that of heavy cream (about 5 minutes). 

Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, salt & bacon. Add drained pasta and return whole pot to burner over medium low, stirring mixture until steaming & heated through (5-6 minutes).

Transfer mixture to a broiler-safe, greased 9x13" pan and sprinkle panko on top.  Place in broiler on middle/lower rack and broil 3-5 minutes until crumbs are browned.

Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Adapted from Cook's Illustrated's "Classic Macaroni & Cheese"


  1. Thanks for re-posting this recipe. It really sounds so delicious.

  2. OMG this sounds amazing! Bacon, cheese and pasta...always a winner!

  3. Oh that's genius - bacon and pepperjack - oh man...hello cheese! Delish!

  4. I haven't seen pepperjack cheese in Mac before. But since it's my husbands favorite cheese and he loves gooey Mac and cheese, I know he will flip for this. So excited to try this!

  5. I am a huge fan of pepperjack cheese but have never used it in mac and cheese. What a great idea!

  6. OH MY looks great. Going to have to try this recipe!!! I'm Kelly, your newest follower! If you have a moment check out my blog:

  7. So cheesy and delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This is so kids love papperjack..I just might try it! Looks fantastic!!!

  9. Bacon makes everything better! (Okay, well almost everything.) I love the addition of pepperjack to this, sounds delicious!

  10. OK, you are making me very hungry now!!!! Plus I have to check out this ultimate brownie stuff :P

  11. This sounds great, but all your recipes do - love the Nutella popcorn...with a jar sitting in the cabinet right now and a pregnant daughter, sounds right on target. Thanks for sharing your culinary genius!

  12. I didn't think that bacon belonged in macaroni and cheese until I tried this recipe. Now I don't know what I've been doing with my life! Amazing recipe!

  13. That looks seriously amazing! My hubs would LOVE it! Valentines day??? Would love for you to come and visit me at Sew Chatty and link up to Made With Love Monday!

  14. I love trying out new versions of mac and cheese! Your picture is perfect- it's so creamy. Thanks for sharing!


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