It certainly doesn’t get any more “Iowa” than mac ‘n cheese dish that is made with bacon AND sweet corn. I wanted to create a pasta dish that had bacon flavor in it, more flavor than say… just tossing some bacon into the dish. This dish uses the simple method of infusing bacon into the cream that will be used to make the sauce for the mac ‘n cheese, leaving more bacon flavor and happier taste buds. There is also bacon stirred into the dish and bacon as a garnish. I love to add sweet corn to any mac ‘n cheese dish and this is no exception. It lends a touch of sweetness and freshness. Add chives at the end for garnish along with some extra bacon if you want. I totally forgot the chives when I photographed this dish and it was G.O.N.E. once I realized it.
This little guy snatched up my ‘photo serving’. Ooops.
This is REAL mac ‘n cheese which employs a simple sauce making technique. Adding flour to melted fat and stirring it to cook is called making a ‘roux’. Adding the bacon infused cream and milk to the roux is the base of the basic béchamel sauce. The cheeses added to the thickened sauce is what makes it mac ‘n cheese sauce and not ‘alfredo sauce’, (as seen with my homemade Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, check that post out for step by step photos.)
PLUS… it is #Porktober! October is National Pork Month… now go ahead and get some!
Triple Bacon Sweet Corn Mac ‘n Cheese
*bacon infused cream and chopped in the mac ‘n cheese and chopped bacon for garnish
By: Cristen www.foodandswine.com
Ingredients for Mac ‘N Cheese:
1/4 C onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon of reserved bacon fat from cooking bacon
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups bacon infused cream *see above
1 cup 2% milk (can use any milk)
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1.5 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ½ tsp dry mustard powder
½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
¼ tsp pepper (adjust to taste)
1-15 oz.can of sweet corn, drained or 2 cups of frozen sweet corn, drained
1 pound cellentani/cavatappi or other shape pasta, cooked & drained
1 lb. smoked bacon, cooked, chop ¾ of the bacon, leave ¼ in strips
3 TBSP chopped fresh chives *optional for freshness
In a large saucepan or stock pot, re-heat reserved bacon fat over medium heat, add butter. Add onion and sauté for 5-7 minutes until translucent and tender. Add flour and stir for 1 minute, to cook raw flour taste out. Whisk in heavy cream and milk. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until mixture is reduced by one fourth and has thickened. Stir or whisk in cheeses until melted, creamy and thickened. Add mustard powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper, mix well. Stir in corn, cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat and gently stir in pasta and ½ of chopped bacon. Let stand 5 minutes (the sauce will stick to the noodles better when serving.) Garnish with remaining chopped bacon and chives if desired. Serve immediately, or see below for make-ahead notes.
Notes on Cheese: Pre-shredded cheeses have additional stabilizers in them to ‘hold their shape’. For this dish, I recommend blocks of cheese that you grate yourself. They don’t have to be expensive! Also, use pepperjack instead of monterrey jack for an extra kick!
Notes on Making Ahead: You can certainly make this dish ahead of time and reheat it. If you like a crisp top on your mac ‘n cheese, make this recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan. Refrigerate until you’re ready to bake or bake right away in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes if warm, and 30 minutes if previously refrigerated.
Bacon Infused Cream Recipe:
You’ll use 2 pieces of cooked bacon per 1 cup of cream. (depending on the thickness of the bacon, this could be 1 strip of thick bacon per 1 cup of cream instead). More bacon simmered with cream = more bacon flavor in mac ‘n cheese.
Simmer fully cooked bacon pieces with heavy cream in a large saucepan for 5-10 minutes. Do not fully boil, just a slow simmer will do. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Reserve cream to use in Bacon Sweet Corn Mac ‘n Cheese, Bacon Infused Caramel Sauce or chill to make bacon whipped cream!