This is a delicious twist on an old family recipe. I never thought the result of my boredom could be so scrumptious. My family couldn't stop raving about it!

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Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
1 hr 5 mins
total:
1 hr 35 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 servings
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese around the inside of the dish.

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  • Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, stir in the penne, and return to a boil. Cook the penne uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.

  • Place the bacon pieces into a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Retain 1/4 cup of bacon drippings. Set the bacon pieces aside.

  • Melt butter and bacon drippings together in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour, stirring frequently until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper, and then whisk in 1/4 cup Parmesan and 3 cups Cheddar cheese, stirring constantly until the Cheddar cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and thick.

  • Stir the cooked penne pasta into the cheese sauce, then lightly mix in the cooked bacon. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese over the top. Cover the dish with foil.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until the pasta is hot and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, and turn on the broiler. Remove the foil, and broil the dish until the cheese topping is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

672 calories; protein 33.4g; carbohydrates 55.4g; fat 34.6g; cholesterol 100.1mg; sodium 917.6mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (12)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
10/16/2011
This is a definite keeper! Although I served this as a side dish with chicken, it would easily stand alone as a main course. I halved the recipe and baked in an 8x8 casserole dish. Read More
(11)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/17/2011
I changed it by adding 2 grilled chicken breasts as well. My husband says it wasn't cheesy enough for him. I think it needed more flavor-maybe some garlic and rosemary would have been good. A good start though:) Read More
(6)
19 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 12
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/16/2011
This is a definite keeper! Although I served this as a side dish with chicken, it would easily stand alone as a main course. I halved the recipe and baked in an 8x8 casserole dish. Read More
(11)
Rating: 3 stars
03/17/2011
I changed it by adding 2 grilled chicken breasts as well. My husband says it wasn't cheesy enough for him. I think it needed more flavor-maybe some garlic and rosemary would have been good. A good start though:) Read More
(6)
Rating: 4 stars
05/05/2010
this was delicious a little time consuming but good. I added about a cup more cheese by the way. Read More
(5)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/16/2013
Delicious! I topped with some panko crumbs mixed with melted butter (a little trick I learned from "Chef John's Mac & Cheese" from this website). I also used more Parmesan cheese on the bottom. I made a Parmesan basket with coursly grated Parmigiano Reggiano a little trick I learned on a Princess cruise last week. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
04/05/2012
Great recipe!! I made it almost exactly as it's written- only very small changes- used macaroni instead of penne and yellow instead of white cheddar. I thought it was excellent and have been eating leftovers for lunches. My husband wasn't real crazy about the thyme but that's a personal flavor issue. He said other than that it was delicious! We both really liked the bacon and I believe including the bacon drippings in the sauce made the whole meal meld together well-- the bacon flavor really added something to traditional mac and cheese! It did take me about an hour even before baking but it tasted great in the end. Thanks for the great recipe! Read More
(4)
Rating: 4 stars
08/30/2011
Had bacon to use and found this recipe. I chose this over the other bacon mac recipes because the onions are fried in the bacon fat which makes sense to me especially if you want to add more bacon flavor aside from the crumbled bacon itself. Came out rather good! I think it might also be good with smoked cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Read More
(3)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/04/2014
I added asiago cheese for a twist Read More
(2)
Rating: 4 stars
04/25/2012
A nice twist to traditional baked mac and cheese. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
11/29/2013
This is an excellent recipe. I made some modifications for my family's Thanksgiving meal: - Used 1 lb hot sausage instead of bacon - Along with the white cheddar I added some fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and shredded italian mix - Topped with about 3/4 cup panko mixed with: smoked paprika garlic powder cumin sage and grated parmesan - Instead of thyme I seasoned with smoked paprika sage cumin and garlic powder. I did not add any salt because of the amount of salt both in the sausage and cheese. It was DELICIOUS! Read More
(1)
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