Hard Apple Cider Mac and Cheese (with Bacon!)
- 1 lb. pasta (I used large shell pasta)
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 2/3 cup hard apple cider (I like this one from Angry Orchard. A LOT)
- 1 and 1/3 cup milk (I use skim)
- 2 and 2/3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 lb. bacon
- First, cook the bacon. I usually cook mine in the oven or on the stovetop.
- Chop the cooked bacon into small, “bacon bite” like pieces. Set aside.
- Cook pasta in very salty water until 4-6 minutes less than al dente (you’re going to bake it later, so by undercooking it now you’re making sure it isn’t soft or mushy when it comes out of the oven!)
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk flour into the butter to form a roux and cook for 1 minute.
- Whisk hard apple cider into the roux a little at a time until you’ve worked out all the lumps. Then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese and mix until cheese has melted. Stir in pepper.
- Stir all but one handful of the bacon pieces into the sauce. Set the extra handful of bacon aside for topping the pasta before you bake it.
- Stir pasta into sauce until all noodles are evenly coated. Pour pasta into a baking dish (you can use one large one, although I chose to use four smaller ones – up to you!) and top with the bacon you set aside.
- Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until edges are crispy.