Bacon makes most savory dishes taste better, even things that are already delicious. When it comes to mac ‘n’ cheese, adding bacon takes it over the top. In this easy recipe, you cook chopped bacon until crisp, drain it, and sauté sliced mushrooms in some of the reserved fat. Make a classic béchamel-based macaroni and cheese, add the bacon and mushrooms, and bake in muffin tins. The individual portions are perfect for a brunch buffet, or to serve with Spicy Tomato Soup for supper.
- Yield: About 12 bites
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr
- Cooking spray, for coating the muffin pan
- 3 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
- 1 heaping cup sliced cremini or button mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dried whole-wheat macaroni or other small pasta shape
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Generously spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
- In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer it to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until tender. Set aside.
- Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and pasta, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- In the same saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the milk while whisking constantly, until smooth. Continuing to whisk, slowly add the cheeses until smooth. Add the reserved macaroni, bacon, and mushrooms to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the egg and mix well.
- Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared muffin wells, dividing it evenly and filling the wells. Bake the bites until they’re crisp and browned around the edges and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing (use a small knife to help dislodge them if necessary).
STORE IT: Refrigerate the bites in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or seal them in a single layer in a zippered plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.