Bacon Mac & Cheese With Buttery Sage Bread Crumbs From Will Coleman

December  2, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

There's always the one dish on the dinner table that you already know that you'll be getting seconds of upon the first bite; mac and cheese is that for me. I grew up watching my mother prepare this classic side dish for every holiday, special occasion, or random weeknight throughout my childhood.

One of the great things about this childhood comfort food favorite of mines is that it's the perfect make-ahead dish, it feeds a crowd, and you can always switch things up, and it will guarantee a delicious result. Want to try a new cheese or pasta noodle? Go for it! Want to add thick-cut bacon and buttery breadcrumbs? It may be the best decision you've ever made.

This recipe is adapted from my family's recipe, though I've added new cheeses, hints of fall flavors, and a bacon-packed breadcrumb topping. It's a recipe that I've enjoyed all year round, though, during the season of Thanksgiving, my tastebuds appreciate the punch of sage even more. —Food52

What You'll Need
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Bacon Mac & Cheese With Buttery Sage Bread Crumbs From Will Coleman
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves
  • 4 slices thick-cut pepper bacon, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound cooked pasta (cellentani, elbows, or shells preferred)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar (about 4 ounces), plus more for topping
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, mix the panko, sage, and garlic; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until crispy and the fat has rendered. Transfer the bacon and fat to the bowl with the panko and toss to combine.
  3. In the same saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, until incorporated and becomes a light tan color.
  4. Whisk in the milk and reduce the heat to low. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the Parmesan and 1 cup of the cheddar. Continue to cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, until the sauce is smooth and has thickened.
  5. Stir in the noodles; season with salt and pepper. Pour into a large baking dish or individual ramekins. Top with the panko mixture and more cheddar.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.

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