Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on FacebookEmail this to someone

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese is a delicious, rich twist on an old classic. Packed with lots of kale and bacon, this splurge-worthy mac and cheese will be a crowd pleaser. 

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Today we are talkin’ mac and cheese. The ultimate comfort food.

We are talking about it because Mac and Cheese Mania is going on! What is that, you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. Perfection.

Nutmeg Nanny and Rachel Cooks are hosting Mac and Cheese Mania. See below for details!

“Come join Mac and Cheese Mania at Rachel Cooks andNutmeg Nanny sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO – Win prizes!”

  mac-and-cheese-mania

Prizes? Yes, loads of prizes and you don’t have to be a food blogger to participate. If you have an original mac and cheese recipe that you’d like to share, you can do so on either Rachel Cooks or Nutmeg Nanny. Even if you don’t think you want to participate in that regard, hop on over and check out some of the awesome recipes. There are way too many to name and there’s something for every palette. Promise.

In the meantime, I whipped up a Skillet Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese to share with y’all. I love me some mac and cheese. Wait, let me rephrase that. I love me some GOOD mac and cheese. Blue boxes have their time and place (hello, childhood) but I’ve since outgrown those in favor of richer, creamier, more adventurous mac and cheese. So, without further adieu, introducing…. Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese. To. Die. For. Over the past few (make that two) days, I’ve eaten almost all of this mac. It was that good.

This recipe is almost a one pot wonder and it could be without the second pot which you’ll need for boiling your pasta.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Then, get your pasta pot going with water over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, add some salt to season the water before adding the pasta. You can wait to cook your pasta until later in the recipe.

Slice the bacon vertically and then dice it into bite sized pieces. Add that to a pan to crisp it up. I used a shallow le creuset for this. You’ll want to choose a pan that you can use for the whole recipe, so it should be oven safe so that you can assemble your mac and cheese in it and then bake it. If you don’t have a large oven safe skillet, no worries. You can simply do all of the cooking on your stovetop in whatever pan you please and then bake the mac and cheese in a casserole pan.

Once you’ve sliced the bacon into small pieces, add them to the pan and cook them until they’re crispy.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 28 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 25 | Bites of Bri

Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan onto a paper towel lined bowl or plate.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 24 | Bites of Bri

While the bacon is crisping, tear the kale from the stems into bite sized pieces. It is very important to get the kale into small pieces or else it will all clump together when we add it to the pasta. Mince the shallots and the garlic cloves. Set aside.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 27 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 26 | Bites of Bri

Once the bacon is crispy, remove most (or all) of the bacon grease from the pan. If you removed all of the grease, add 1 tsp of olive oil then add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 3 minutes or so until they’re tender.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 23 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 22 | Bites of Bri

Add the kale to the shallot/garlic mixture and toss to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes until it wilts slightly and turns bright green. You may need to add the kale in two batches waiting until it wilts slightly so that you can add more to the pan without it spilling over. Add 1/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 21 | Bites of Bri

Once the kale has cooked for 3-5 minutes, remove the kale mixture to a bowl. Set aside.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 20 | Bites of Bri

At this point, I like to clean my pan before making the cheese sauce. It’s up to you!

Cook the pasta according to package directions minus 3 minutes or so since it will continue cooking in the oven. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water just in case you need to thin your cheese sauce. Combine the drained pasta with the kale mixture. Toss to combine in the pasta pot and set aside.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 19 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 18 | Bites of Bri

Add 2 tbsp of butter to the pan and allow it to melt but not brown. Once the butter is melted, add 2 tbsp of all purpose flour.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 17 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 16 | Bites of Bri

Whisk to combine. All the roux to cook for 3 minutes or so, just until it starts to turn golden.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 15 | Bites of Bri

Add the milk and whisk to combine. Cook the milk mixture for 5 minutes or so. It will be bubbly.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 14 | Bites of Bri

While the milk is simmering, use a box grater to grate the cheeses.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 13 | Bites of Bri

Add the cheese to the milk and whisk to combine.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 12 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 11 | Bites of Bri

Add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. Whisk to combine. Nutmeg may sound like a weird addition to the white sauce, but it really is essential. Nutmeg gives just a hint of flavor. Taste your sauce to make sure you’re happy with the flavor.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 10 | Bites of Bri

Add the kale and pasta to the cheese sauce. Add 1/2 of the crispy bacon. Stir to combine.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 9 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 8 | Bites of Bri

Top with 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining bacon.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 7 | Bites of Bri   Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 6 | Bites of Bri

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 5 | Bites of Bri

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until the top of the mac and cheese is crispy.

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 4 | Bites of Bri

Just look at all of that crunch!

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese 3 | Bites of Bri

This splurge is so worth it! (Said by someone who ate all of this except for 2 servings that I shared!)

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese | Bites of Bri

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Bacon and Kale Mac and Cheese is a delicious, rich twist on an old classic. Packed with lots of kale and bacon, this splurge-worthy mac and cheese will be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices Bacon, diced
  • 1 lb large shell pasta
  • 10 oz kale torn into bite sized pieces, stems removed
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 1/2-2 cups fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 -1 1/2 cups white sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (divided)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Once you've sliced the bacon into small pieces, add them to the pan and cook them until they're crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan onto a paper towel lined bowl or plate. 
  2. While the bacon is crisping, tear the kale from the stems into bite sized pieces. It is very important to get the kale into small pieces or else it will all clump together when we add it to the pasta. 
  3. Mince the shallots and the garlic cloves. Set aside. 
  4. Once the bacon is crispy, remove most (or all) of the bacon grease from the pan.
  5. If you removed all of the grease, add 1 tsp of olive oil then add the garlic and shallots. Cook for 3 minutes or so until they're tender. 
  6. Add the kale to the shallot/garlic mixture and toss to combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes until it wilts slightly and turns bright green. You may need to add the kale in two batches waiting until it wilts slightly so that you can add more to the pan without it spilling over. Add 1/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine.
  7. Once the kale has cooked for 3-5 minutes, remove the kale mixture to a bowl. Set aside. 
  8. At this point, I like to clean my pan before making the cheese sauce. It’s up to you!
  9. Cook the pasta according to package directions minus 3 minutes or so since it will continue cooking in the oven. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water just in case you need to thin your cheese sauce. Combine the drained pasta with the kale mixture. Toss to combine in the pasta pot and set aside. 
  10. Add 2 tbsp of butter to the pan and allow it to melt but not brown. Once the butter is melted, add 2 tbsp of all purpose flour. 
  11. Whisk to combine. All the roux to cook for 3 minutes or so, just until it starts to turn golden. 
  12. Add the milk and whisk to combine. Cook the milk mixture for 5 minutes or so. It will be bubbly. 
  13. While the milk is simmering, use a box grater to grate the cheeses. 
  14. Add the cheese to the milk and whisk to combine. 
  15. Add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. Whisk to combine. 
  16. Add the kale and pasta to the cheese sauce. Add 1/2 of the crispy bacon. Stir to combine. 
  17. Top with 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining bacon. 
  18. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top of the mac and cheese is crispy. 

Notes

If you aren't a fan of kale, spinach or swiss chard would work just as well in this recipe. Don't have fontina? Try monterey jack for equal melt-ability.

http://bitesofbri.com/2014/03/bacon-kale-mac-cheese/

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on FacebookEmail this to someone

Comments

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>