This ultimate comfort food classic is cheesy, flavorful, and irresistible!
Your guests (and let’s not leave out yourself here!) will love this for a relaxed, casual dinner.
With handfuls of sharp white cheddar and Asiago melted into a thick, creamy sauce, this is one cheesy mac and cheese.
And topped with crispy homemade bacon bits, you might not have any left to save for leftovers – everyone will want seconds!
This dish can easily be made in advance. Prepare everything ahead of time and pop it in the oven to reheat. Sprinkle the bacon bits on top right before serving to your hungry guests!
For this recipe, you will need to make a roux – but don’t be intimidated!
Check out our post on choosing the right thickeners for more information about different types of starches, and how to use them to the best of your advantage in your favorite recipes.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Shred the cheddar and Asiago with a sturdy grater, and set aside.
Step 2 – Cook the Pasta
In a large pot, bring about one gallon of water to a rapid boil. Add the cooking oil and pasta.
Cook until al dente, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
You still want the pasta to have a chewy bite, because it will continue cooking in the oven.
If you want to try your hand at making your own from scratch, read our helpful guide to making a basic semolina pasta dough at home!
Step 3 – Make the Roux
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Slowly add the flour, stirring constantly with a metal whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, staying on low heat.
Step 4 – Make the Sauce
Slowly add the milk, about 1 cup at a time, to the roux, whisking vigorously until all of the milk has been added, and the mixture is completely smooth.
Remain on low heat as you slowly add 4 cups of the cheddar and all of the Asiago. Continue cooking and stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
Remove from heat, and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Want another creamy sauce option? Use our classic and creamy Mornay Sauce instead!
Step 5 – Combine and Bake
Add the cooked pasta to the pot of sauce, stirring until the pasta is completely coated.
Spoon into the prepared casserole dish, and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheddar evenly over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until thoroughly hot and bubbling, with the top slightly golden-brown.
Step 6 – Cook the Bacon
While the casserole is baking, place the chopped bacon in a large skillet. Saute over medium heat until the bacon is thoroughly cooked, and the pieces are crispy.
Remove the bacon bits from the pan, and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
Step 7 – Garnish and Serve
Evenly sprinkle the top of the baked casserole with the bacon bits, and serve hot!
Carbs + Dairy = Happiness
It’s a simple, yummy equation.
When you combine pasta with a creamy sauce, and bake until bubbly and golden-brown, you are well on your way to pure bliss.
All you need is one final touch: a generous sprinkling of crispy bacon bits on top for bursts of crunch and flavor.
Ah, happiness never tasted so good!
If you love this type of comfort food, you might also like to try our other cheesy dishes:
Looking for a little light reading to pair with this rich dish?
Check out this article on space food, about missing the comforts (and comfort foods) of home, from far away on the International Space Station, or even another planet.
How do you like to enjoy your mac and cheese? Give us your best recipe ideas in the comments below!
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Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published April 24th, 2015. Revised and updated August 23rd, 2017, with additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.