Creamy, cheesy, and salty Jalapeno Bacon Mac & Cheese is an easy homemade mac you'll come back to again and again.
6slicesthick cut bacondiced
16ozhalf and half2 cups
4ozmonterey jack cheeseshredded
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Reserve 2 Tbs pasta water
First, shred your cheese (you’re looking for about 3 cups total), dice pepper and bacon, and measure out half & half, pasta, and flour.
Heat deep saute pan over medium heat. You’ll build your cheese sauce in this so make sure it's large enough. A large pot works well too.
When saute pan is hot, add diced bacon. Heat 8 cups of water in a second large pot over medium high heat.
Cook bacon until crisp and browned then remove from pan to paper towel. Drain all but around 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from pan.
Give the bacon fat a chance to cool for a few moments off heat*. Check your water, if boiling, add a palmful of salt to the water, and add pasta once salt has dissolved.
When pan has cooled slightly, return the bacon fat to medium low heat. Begin with 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour and add to remaining bacon fat. Whisk, adding more flour as needed until a blonde paste has formed. Cook for 2-3 three minutes, whisking frequently until smooth and creamy. Add half and half in thirds, whisking between each addition.
Add diced jalapenos. Continuing to whisk, return the heat to medium, bringing the half & half to a boil. Simmer and whisk mixture until smooth and thickened about 5 minutes. Remember to keep an eye on your pasta. Drain before next step if it's cooked, reserving 1-2 Tbs of water, and returning pasta to the pot.
Turn off heat on sauce. Continue to whisk to prevent burning. Off heat, add the shredded cheese in three parts, whisking until smooth between each addition. If it wasn't done before, your pasta should be done now, follow directions above.
Once all the cheese is mixed in, add salt and pepper to taste. Return pot of pasta to medium heat and pour in cheese mixture. Stir to combine and fold in the bacon pieces. Let mixture come to a simmer, then stir occasionally until thickened.
Serve immediately with extra shredded cheese if desired.
* Adding the flour to a too hot pan will cause the roux to burn
Copyright @ theflourhandprint.com Jalapeno Bacon Mac & Cheese https://www.theflourhandprint.com/jalapeno-bacon-mac-cheese/ October 8, 2017