Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Jalapeno

Mac and Cheese is one of the most go-to comfort foods, and for good reason! With or without fancy additions, this is a solid recipe to have in your arsenal.
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb macaroni noodles
  • 1 tablespoon salt for boiling
  • 1 stick butter + 2 tablespoons, separated
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper + more to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon smoke paprika + more for garnish
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz Romano cheese
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese
  • Optional:
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, or 8 of thin, cooked and diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 cups cheese, any combo of the cheeses in recipe

Directions

Bring a large pot of water with salt to a boil. Add your pasta and cook until just under done. When pasta is done, drain your pasta, then return to pot and add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, add your stick of butter on medium until melted. Add your flour, salt, and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until your flour/butter begins to lightly brown. Add your paprika and milk, then whisk until mixture is thick and bubbly, or about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly stir in all your cheese until it is all melted. Taste now and add salt or pepper if needed. Add in your pasta and toss. The longer it sits, the thicker it will become.
If you are going to bake your mac and cheese, heat your oven to 375. If you are going to add ingredients (as we did in our episode), go ahead and add anything you like at this point into the pot. We added in bacon and jalapeno chunks. Pour your mac and cheese into a pan large enough to hold your pasta, then top with extra cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Cook it for 10-15 minutes, or until topped cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Let it set for 5-10 minutes before serving.