Bacon Mac and Cheese

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Bacon Mac and Cheese
Yield: 8 Servings
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Ingredients
  1. 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 3/4 cup pink (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  4. ½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan
  5. 4 to 5 thick-sliced bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces
  6. 6 tablespoons butter
  7. 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  8. 1 small onion, minced
  9. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  10. 5 cups whole milk
  11. 2 cups shredded or cubed Smoked Gouda cheese
  12. 2 cups shredded or cubed cheddar cheese
  13. 2 teaspoons powdered or prepared mustard
  14. 1-teaspoon coarse salt
  15. 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter two 9-inch by 13-inch pans.
  2. Prepare topping: In a small bowl, heat the 3 tablespoons butter until it just starts to melt. Stir in the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan cheese; set aside.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pan to keep warm. Pasta is done when it is slightly chewy to the bite or "al dente." Drain pasta in a colander and then transfer to a large bowl.
Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking
  1. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add bacon and cook until golden, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain the bacon fat from the pan and discard.
  2. In the same saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the 6 tablespoons butter. Stir in the minced onions and garlic; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until onions are translucent. Do not let the butter brown during this stage.
  3. Whisk in the flour and cook an additional 3 minutes, whisking constantly until the flour is bubbly. Gradually add the milk and bring just to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring often, until the sauce slightly thickens, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Stir in the smoked Gouda cheese, Cheddar cheese, and mustard, and stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove pan from heat and fold in the cooked Macaroni pasta and the cooked bacon pieces. The macaroni should be soupy at this point, as it will absorb a large amount of sauce as it bakes.
  6. Transfer pasta to baking dishes. Top each dish with some of the reserved prepared breadcrumb topping.
  7. Bake approximately 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly and top begins to brown. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
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