The Best Brussel Sprout and Bacon Mac and Cheese
I recently made this dish for a a Kentucky Derby party and it was a huge hit. I posted my process on my Insta Stories and had a lot of people asking for the recipe so here you go!
Note: the pictures below show me preparing to make 2 batches (one with the brussel spouts and bacon and one plain mac and cheese).
You can also make this recipe without the brussel sprouts and bacon, just omit those ingredients and follow the rest of the recipe the same.
- 1lb Cavatappi cut pasta (I like Barilla brand)
- 1 pound brussel sprouts, washed and halved
- 1 pound of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces ( I like to use thick cut)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 8 oz. sharp white cheddar (buy the brick and shred using a box grater)
- 8 oz sharp yellow cheddar (buy the brick and shred using a box grater)
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 4 cups milk ( I use whole)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
- 4-5 dashed of Worchestire
- 1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers, crumbled
- Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat large pot of water until boiling and then add pasta. Cook according to directions on box, or until al dente. Drain in colander and reserve until cheese sauce is ready.
2. While pasta is cooking heat a large skillet, on medium high and add chopped bacon. Cook until desired level of crispiness ( I recommend on the crispier side for this recipe). Using a slotted spoon remove cooked bacon from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
3. Carefully scoop out (into a small bowl and then discard) all but about 2-3 tablespoons of the melted bacon fat from the frying pan. Turn heat back on to medium and carefully add the brussel sprouts to the bacon fat. Add salt and pepper. I cover the brussels sprouts to get them to soften more quickly. Every couple of minutes remove the cover and give them a stir. Once soft keep the cover off and saute until they have brown crispy edges. Turn off heat.
4. In a large dutch oven/pot, melt butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add chopped onion. Saute onion until softened but not brown.
5. Add the flour. Lower heat to medium, medium low and cook the flour until brown, about 5-6 minutes.
5. Add the 4 cups of milk and stir until no longer lumpy. Keep heat on medium to medium high and stir continuously. While stirring, add the mustard powder and worchestire sauce. Cook until mixture starts to bubble and thicken. TURN OFF HEAT.
6. Add the shredded cheese and stir until it is all melted and incorporated.
7. Add cooked pasta to the cheese mixture. Fold until covered.
8. Fold in brussel sprouts and bacon pieces.
9. Dump pasta into a 9x13 baking pan ((I love my glass Pyrex, or aluminum foil trays like pictured below if you are bringing to a party) that is sprayed with cooking spray.
10. Sprinkle the top with the crumbled up Ritz crackers.
11. Before you are ready to serve, pop in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or you can just broil on low to make the top crispy. DO NOT OVER COOK, I think over baking dries out the sauce.
P.S. This is actually my own recipe that is a mash up of a different mac and cheese recipes that I have tried. I had bacon and brussel sprouts mac and cheese at a restaurant one night and decided to give it a whirl at home. This is always a big hit whenever I make it, and sinfully good. I hope you try it and enjoy!!