Macaroni and Cheese with Melted Leeks and Bacon

by Heather on February 22, 2012

Y’all.  Make this.  Just skip work, class, whatever you have going on and…make this.

I’ve been going through a huge mac and cheese kick lately where all I crave is the real homemade kind with breadcrumbs and toasted cheese on top.  The kind where creamy doesn’t even begin to describe the texture, and bacon?  Well, let’s just be honest here…who wouldn’t love a little bacon with anything they eat?

 

Exactly.

Funny story that’s not really funny, except for now it’s funny because I can laugh at myself.  But at the time it was a meltdown the likes of which I can’t say I’ve really ever seen myself have.

 

What happened?  Oh, I’ll tell you what happened:  I pulled this little crock of mac and cheese out of the oven, tried to place it on a trivet, and proceeded to somehow knock it over and it went all over the counter.  Not the floor or sink or other such things, but the freshly cleaned and highly sanitary counter. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever had the desire to say the ‘F’ word, but I almost let it drop as I hurled my oven mitts the whole 3 feet across the kitchen and screamed and told Nate to leave me alone.

 

And then I started sobbing like a child.  It’s true.  It felt very Julie and Julia, only that didn’t feel that great.  And then I stood and cried and apologized a bajillion times to Nate, picked up the mac and cheese and started over again with the breadcrumb topping.

 

The good news?  The mac and cheese is phenomenal and bacon has magical mind-erasing powers to where Nate totally forgot about the fact that I’m a big jerk and helped me eat this up anyway.  Thank goodness…

MACARONI AND CHEESE WITH MELTED LEEKS AND BACON

  • 1 lb short-cut pasta (I used shells, but penne would be great too)
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, sliced into half-moons and rinsed well
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) soft herbed cheese (I used Alouette, but Boursin would be great too)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp (or less) cayenne pepper
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to broil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente; drain and set aside.  Meanwhile crisp up the bacon slices in a large skillet over medium low heat.  When they’re crispy remove from heat, reserving 2 Tbsp of the drippings.  Saute the leeks in the bacon drippings until they’re very translucent and extremely tender (i.e. “melted”), about 10-15 minutes.  It takes a while, but it’s well worth the outcome!  Sprinkle in the 2 Tbsp of flour and mix well with the leeks, cooking out the flour for about 1 minute.  Stream in the milk while whisking to incorporate everything well.  Stir in the spices and bring to a simmer over medium low heat until the mixture is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses.  Pour the pasta into the sauce and toss to coat.  Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.  In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil, then sprinkle over the top of the pasta.  Broil until golden, about 3-5 minutes.  Chop the bacon and sprinkle over the top.

 

DEVOUR.

So now I’m wondering…that whole bacon thing?  I wonder if it works on husbands when you’re going through birth.  You know, like if I say something mean or get annoying…can I just feed him bacon afterwards and make it all better?

 

I’ll research that and get back to you :)

 

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim in MD February 22, 2012

This is such a cute post! The mac & cheese looks so delicious, and trust me, Heather…whatever you say (or yell or scream) during your labor and delivery will be forgiven as soon as your little boy is born! :-)

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2 Blog is the New Black February 22, 2012

I keep seeing mac and cheese everywhere. It’s a sign that I NEED to make it!

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3 Elle February 22, 2012

Leeks, yes! An bacon? Heck yeah. A match made in heaven. Sorry about your meltdown, but it’s understandable. Mac and cheese is serious business.

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4 Anna @ On Anna's Plate February 22, 2012

Blame the pregnancy for that meltdown– I’ve had a few of those myself. I dropped a jar of salsa unloading groceries into the refrigerator the other day, and you would have thought the world was ending. :-)

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5 Jana February 22, 2012

I was worried I’d yell at or maybe even punch Cody during the birth but I had an epidural so I was at peace the entire time. However, once home that was a whole different ball game. The hormones made me a little crazy. I yelled at Cody when he spilled or dumped out 10 cc’s of breastmilk. I had worked so hard to get it and it went to waste. I cried for 3 hours proceeding that accident. Thankfully be forgave me and we can laugh about it now. Come to think of it we probably had bacon for breakfast that next morning :)

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6 Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 22, 2012

Ooohh, this looks amazing!!!

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7 Robin Sue February 22, 2012

Anything you say in birth will be used against you for life, so yeah the bacon is a good idea!!

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8 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar February 22, 2012

Love this idea! I would have never thought to add leeks!

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9 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 22, 2012

Please teach me how to never have the desire to say the F word because my potty mouth would definitely appreciate a lesson on that! If that were me, curses would’ve been flying! But for good reason with the looks of this mac n cheese! ;)

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10 Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free February 22, 2012

Yes, Bacon does make everything better. I know because I have 3 family members in the house who devour 2 packages of bacon in 10 minutes. Works for girls, too, but I have found chocolate is a bit better for that :P

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11 Jessica J February 22, 2012

Oh.My.Gosh. I will be making this! Maybe tonight! And by the way, I too have had epic meltdowns in front of the hubby like this. Thank goodness he is very forgiving :)

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12 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables February 22, 2012

Spilling something that delicious would cause any sane person to have a freak out, pregnant or not!! This looks delicious and I love the bacon + cheese thang.

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13 Delishhh February 22, 2012

That is pretty funny – i have no idea why but i never cried during my pregnancy, very strange. . .but i had other strange things happen to me, and now i am 41 weeks, i have max i more week to go and i can’t believe she will not come out. . .

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14 Heather February 24, 2012

i’m so glad they’ve told me i’m not going past 41 weeks…it makes the “deadline” so much easier to get used to! sometime in the next 12 days he’ll be here!

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15 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic February 22, 2012

I’ve dropped many things over freshly cleaned counters (and floors) so I can relate ;) Everything in this mac and cheese is delicious, and is making my stomach growl for lunch already!

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16 Liz @ IHeartVegetables February 22, 2012

Haha I think bacon would have mind erasing powers on my man, because I’m a vegetarian and he never expects to be served anything with meat in it ;) Haha

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17 Kate February 22, 2012

Sounds yummy! And there is no reason you should have to yell or scream during childbirth! It is hard, but God made your body to do it!

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18 Deanna B. February 22, 2012

Sounds fantastic! The creamy herbed cheese is such a brilliant addition. And we’ve all had those moments. I’m about *thisclose* to having one right now.

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19 Deanna February 22, 2012

I love leeks, bacon, cheese, and pasta! Perfect combination – I am making this tonight!

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20 Jessica @ How Sweet February 22, 2012

oh my gaaaaaaaaaah. this is like everything i want and more.

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21 Charissa February 22, 2012

I don`t care how old I am…I will always be crazy about mac and cheese! Of course, I`m super grateful when people come out with healthy versions…looks so great!

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22 Jen at The Three Little Piglets February 22, 2012

If bacon doesn’t work then really good cupcakes might… a few chocolate peanut butter cup ones and mine was a puddle of jello. Granted now I have two more kids… so maybe skip the cupcakes and just do cookies!

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23 myfudo February 22, 2012

Or perhaps I can bring this to work and everyone in the office will enjoy I am sure…Bacon-y and cheese-y! This will be a blast! Thanks for sharing!

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24 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 23, 2012

Well you’ve got a built in excuse, you can blame it on all those pregnancy hormones!

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25 janetha February 23, 2012

yum. the end.

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