Irish Yankee Mac and Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

1 pound elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta

1 tablespoon canola oil (if eliminating bacon for vegetarian version) 

5 slices bacon, diced 

4 cloves garlic, minced 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably Irish   

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

4 1/2 cups milk 

5 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese, preferably Irish    

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  

2 cups frozen peas, thawed 

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese  

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta 2 minutes less than the package instructs. Drain and set aside. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute. Remove the garlic and bacon and set aside.   
  4. In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute until a paste forms. Continuously whisking, add the milk in slow increments until incorporated into the flour paste. Cook until thick and smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. 
  5. Add the Cheddar in 3 batches and stir, until it has melted and becomes a velvety sauce. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the macaroni, peas, and bacon-garlic mixture to the sauce. 
  6. Pour and scrape the macaroni into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve. 
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