Beer Bacon Mac and Cheese

SERVES 4-6  |  ACTIVE TIME 15 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 25 Min

12 oz thick cut bacon, uncooked
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground chile de arbol, (can substitute cayenne pepper to taste)
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ cup beer, (I used Blue Moon)
½ cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 (8 oz) package shredded mild cheddar cheese
8 oz dry elbow pasta
chives, optional garnish

Bring an 8 qt covered pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add a handful of salt and pasta. Reduce heat to medium high and cook uncovered to al dente (has a bite to it). Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile heat a large 12” skillet over medium-high. Using clean kitchen shears cut bacon into bite size pieces over the skillet and let them to fall into the pan. Stir occasionally as needed. Cook until crisp.

Once bacon is cooked through, remove bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve 2 Tbsp of bacon drippings and discard the rest. Wipe the side of the skillet to avoid flame ups.

Pour reserved bacon drippings back into the skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once melted add flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flour-y taste to cook off. Add spices, beer and chicken broth. Whisk to combine. Allow to come to boil for 3 minutes, whisking occasionally to help pick up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add milk. Whisk to combine. Bring back to a bubble. Once you see the first few bubbles in the pan add cooked bacon, Worchershire and cheese. Stir to combine.

Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Cook pasta in sauce for 5 minutes over medium heat until sauce thickens and the pasta has a chance to absorb some of the sauce.

Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle with chives and serve.


Cook's Notes: Recipe may be doubled. Simply use 2x the ingredients and follow cooking directions.

Sauce will thicken as it cools. If sauce is too thick, add milk ½ cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.

Reheat instructions: Add pasta to pot with milk. Heat until warmed through, adding ½ cup of milk at a time until desired constancy is reached.

Freezing instructions: Allow pasta to come to room temperature. Place in resealable plastic bag or container. If using a container press a small piece of plastic wrap over top to avoid freezer burn. Will keep for up to 6 months. To reheat, that pasta and follow reheat instructions.
Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
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