Mac-n-Cheese Pie with Bacon Lattice
The “mother of all comfort foods”, would be one way to describe this dish, or a “skillet of pure love” might be another. Creamy macaroni and cheese, poured into a flaky pie crust, topped with a woven lattice of bacon, and baked until bubbling, golden, and crisp, now what is there possibly not to like about that? nothing I say. This bad boy has definitely secured a slot on my favorite comfort foods list. I know, I know, while this golden goddess of goodness has ranked high on my charts, it is possible it will never appear on the Eat to Win list. But hey, every once in a while is OK, just remember one of my favorite mantras, “Everything in moderation…………..including moderation”.
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- ½ cup half-n-half
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce optional
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups cheese grated (cheddar, jack, Gruyère, or any combo you like)
- ½ cup onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced (optional)
- 1 pound pasta (which ever shape you prefer)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 pie crust
- 1 pound bacon divided
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Start by making a béchamel or basic white sauce in a large sauce pan over medium heat, with butter, flour, half-n-half and milk.
- When sauce is a thick, add mustard powder, tabasco, and black pepper (I avoided using salt, since there is plenty in the cheese and bacon).
- Add cheese a bit at a time, allowing it to melt as you go.
- Reduce heat and hold on low (if sauce appears too thick, you can add a bit more milk or half-n-half to thin).
- Bring a stock pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for about 8 minutes or slightly el dente.
- Drain, but do not rinse, and add to the cheese sauce. Stir to combine.
- In another skillet crisp 3 – 4 strips of bacon. Remove cooked bacon from pan and place on a paper towel to drain. Crumble and hold aside.
- Add the diced onions and jalapeno to the bacon drippings and cook until onions become translucent. Add garlic and cook for about one minute to bloom.
- Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add to the mac-n-cheese mixture.
Roll out pie crust and place in a cast iron skillet or pie pan. With a fork prick the bottom and sides of the crust. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Add panko bread crumbs to the mac-n-cheese, mix and pour into the pie shell.
- Use eight strips of bacon, four each direction to weave a lattice top. Be careful not to stretch the bacon when weaving the lattice, this will reduce the amount of shrinkage.
- Place back in the hot oven, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and the cheese is bubbling.
- Allow to rest for 5 – 8 minutes before digging in.
- Serve with a side of lightly dressed salad.
Use whatever mac-n-cheese recipe is your favorite. While I believe that things made from scratch are better, this recipe can easily be put together using a refrigerated pie crust, and some packaged mac-n-cheese.