19 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 10
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0

A rich and bacon-y variation of the tradition macaroni and cheese pasta dish.

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Ingredients

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

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 1/2- or 3-quart baking dish.

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  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer pasta back to pot; cover and keep warm off heat.

  • Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels. Crumble.

  • Place butter and minced garlic in a saucepan over medium-high heat; stir until butter is melted. Whisk flour into butter mixture, and continue whisking until flour starts to turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Slowly add milk, heavy cream, salt, and pepper to the saucepan, whisking until there are no lumps. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium.

  • Stir grated Cheddar cheese into the cream mixture, stirring until the cheese is melted. Add basil pesto sauce and half of the crumbled bacon; stir. Transfer mixture to pot with cooked elbows; stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish.

  • Mix panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese together in a bowl. Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and cheese.

  • Bake in preheated oven until bubbly and just starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Top with remaining half of bacon.

  • Preheat the oven's broiler. Place baking dish under broiler until browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil.

Cook's Note:

I used Barilla® Elbows and Barilla® Traditional Basil Pesto.

Nutrition Facts

563 calories; 30 g total fat; 76 mg cholesterol; 548 mg sodium. 50.7 g carbohydrates; 23.1 g protein; Full Nutrition


Reviews (15)

Read All Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2017
I did play with this some - but not too much. Mostly I played with the consistency of the cheese sauce to get it nice and thick (so added a fair amount more flour but then also added a bit more liquid then called for; I used all whole milk since I didn't have any cream left). I left the bacon drippings in the pan with the butter as well so had a little extra bacon-ey goodness and evilness in the pan. The pesto made this extra special and my dish came out so rich creamy and really delicious. I loved it and my family did as well. (I also left off the panko breading and just sprinkled the extra chopped bacon on top when it was finished with the initial bake). Perfect for Easter dinner.
(4)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
07/22/2018
To be honest I really didn t like the bacon in this. I d change it to chicken instead. The flavor is pretty good but the bacon kills it for me. All in all I like the pesto white cheddar mix.
19 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 8
  • 4 star values: 10
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
04/05/2017
We really liked this but I do have to agree with the other reviewer that said this was more like a pesto pasta bake than a mac and cheese. Next time I'm gonna make my usual mac and cheese sauce and add the pesto to that and see how it turns out because I love the idea of this. It was still very tasty and we enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing.:)
(5)
Rating: 4 stars
04/20/2017
After reading the reviews I added a little less milk because we prefer a creamy mac and cheese. In addition I added a little less pesto so as to not mask the cheese flavor. It came out perfect for us. This recipe is so easy to adjust to your personal tastes.
(5)
Rating: 4 stars
04/25/2017
Definitely more of a pasta 'bake' than mac and cheese. I added more milk than originally called for and it was still dry. I also halved the pesto and should have doubled the bacon.
(5)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2017
I did play with this some - but not too much. Mostly I played with the consistency of the cheese sauce to get it nice and thick (so added a fair amount more flour but then also added a bit more liquid then called for; I used all whole milk since I didn't have any cream left). I left the bacon drippings in the pan with the butter as well so had a little extra bacon-ey goodness and evilness in the pan. The pesto made this extra special and my dish came out so rich creamy and really delicious. I loved it and my family did as well. (I also left off the panko breading and just sprinkled the extra chopped bacon on top when it was finished with the initial bake). Perfect for Easter dinner.
(4)
Rating: 4 stars
04/10/2017
We really enjoyed this! It was a great "grown-up" twist on regular mac & cheese. I replaced the regular milk with half & half using about a cup and a half in addition to the heavy cream.
(4)
Rating: 4 stars
04/05/2017
I'm not sure if I should rate this a 5 or 4 star. I made some small changes by using penne and not elbow macaroni. I read the reviews about the sauce being too thin and reduced the milk to 1 cup. I think any more milk and it would have been more fluid of a sauce than I prefer. I didn't want the pesto to overwhelm the cheese sauce so I reduced the pesto to 1/4 cup. The lovely part is this recipe is versatile. I split the batch and added some chopped cooked chicken into the second batch for a different variety. Pretty good recipe. Thanks!
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/06/2018
Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out amazing! Definitely making this again. Thought I made enough for 2 days of leftovers but it was so good I ate it in 1.
(3)
Rating: 4 stars
04/14/2017
I love pesto and love mac & cheese so this seemed like the perfect combination! It had a great pesto flavor but didn't really taste like a "mac & cheese"to me. The cream sauce is much thinner than a traditional mac & cheese so when the macaroni baked it soaked it up. I think the flavor was good but I missed the creamy sauce you get from a traditional mac & cheese. The pesto flavor is predominate so I think you lose the flavor of the cheese. I did really love the taste. It was even better the next day!
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
11/13/2017
A new fav! I followed suggestions from other posters and lessened milk and pesto. It was delicious. I made a double recipe for the future dinners.
(2)