Date Night Smokey Chipotle Bacon Mac and Cheese
I'm so ready for cooler weather, warmer clothes and most importantly comfort food like this magnificent Mac and Cheese I found on pinterest courtesy of The Chunky Chef! With Thanksgiving just weeks away its time to start testing out different recipes for friendsgiving. Will you come and be my special taste tester? Let this spicy-in-all-the-right-ways dish just be the beginning of our smoking hot evening together! Red wine, Mac and Cheese, grilled veggies and you by my side. Sounds like the perfect evening to me. What are you waiting for?
16 ounces dried pasta shells or elbows
1/2 cup butter
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 - 1 black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
3 cups medium cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups smoked gouda cheese, shredded
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Boil pasta in a large pot of water. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Butter or grease a large over safe skillet (like cast iron), 9x13" baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
To a large saucepan, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook about a minute.
Whisk in the half and half and heavy cream, removing all lumps from the flour. Stir in salt, pepper, smoked paprika and minced chipotle peppers. Whisk often, over medium heat, for 5-7 minutes, or until thickened.
Remove pan from heat and stir in most of the cheeses a handful at a time. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the combined cheeses to sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese later. Stir until cheese are completely melted.
Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta in mixing bowl. Stir to combine well, then transfer to prepared skilled or baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Combine panko, ancho chile pepper and olive oil. Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese, then top with cooked bacon pieces,
Bake 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly and panko in golden brown. For a crispier topping, broil for a minute or two after baking.
"Perfectly cheesy mac...that’s infused with chipotle peppers" - The Chunky Chef