Ina Garten’s grown up bacon mac and cheese is not your ordinary macaroni and cheese! It’s loaded with a rich, creamy cheese sauce that is made from 3 types of cheese! The crispy bacon mixed in adds flavor and texture to this grown up comfort food.
Mac and cheese lovers of the world, unite! This easy, cheesy dinner is easily the most indulgent mac and cheese that you’ll ever eat!
It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of food and cooking shows. I plant myself on the couch nightly so that my favorite chefs can teach me their cooking secrets. I learn the methods necessary to roast the world’s juiciest turkey and create a succulent stew.
Many of my friends sit down to watch episodes of Real Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, while I watch stars like Ina Garten. I love watching Ina create goodness in her kitchen. She’s down to earth, elegant, and incredibly talented.
Basically, Ina is the polar opposite of me. You know that opposites attract, right? The Barefoot Contessa website is a joy to visit, and I’m always excited to try Ina’s recipes.
I’m a comfort food junkie, so when I saw Ina Garten’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese recipe on a recent visit, I had to make it!
I’m sure that kids will enjoy a bowl of this comfort food, but it’s definitely not a taste you’ll get from a blue box.
Ina’s recipe starts with a basic bechamel sauce, kicked up with a rich blend of sharp cheddar and Gruyère cheeses. It’s even more grown up with the addition of fresh tomatoes and homemade bread crumbs on the top. It sounds delightful in its own right, but good tomatoes are hard to come by right now. I had to find an acceptable substitute.
When it’s possible, I never turn down opportunities to use bacon, and kids, this was a possible moment! In addition to bacon, I added more cheese. I used a white cheddar and Gruyère blend, but then I took the sauce to a sophisticated level. The third cheese into the pot is crumbled Blue Cheese, and for even more creaminess, a couple of ounces of cream cheese. Four cheeses? Oh, yes I did!
What? You’ve never seen a Wisconsinite doing what she does best?
Come on. You know you need to have Ina Garten’s grown up mac and cheese in your mouth.
Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni (or small pasta shape of your choosing)
- 32 ounces (4 cups) milk
- 4 ounces (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
- 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces crisply cooked and crumbled bacon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add enough salt to make the water taste "like the sea". Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk over medium heat in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour, stirring to create a roux. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the roux and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and smooth. Turn heat to low and add all cheeses, crumbled bacon, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned on the top.