French Bistro Mac & Cheese w/ Lardons
Channel cozy French Bistro vibes with this super-flavorful version of everyone’s favorite comfort food! A mix of nutty imported Comtè, luscious creamy imported Camembert, and tart earthy imported Bucheron cheeses meld into a luxurious sauce while crispy bacon and buttered breadcrumbs lend a decadent finish.
- 1 lb elbow or other small macaroni cooked according to package instructions
- 1 lb thick cut or slab bacon cut into 1/4” thick slices
- 4 TB butter
- 4 TB flour
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 6 cups whole milk
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 3 cups shredded imported Comtè
- 1 cup crumbled imported Bucheron or other goat cheese
- 1 8 oz wheel imported Camembert rind removed, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1 TB butter
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Cook bacon over medium-low heat in a large saute pan until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot. Whisk in flour and cook, continuing to whisk for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic and slowly whisk in milk, mustard, and salt until incorporated. Add bay leaf and thyme and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low, discard bay leaf and thyme, and stir in mix of cheeses until fully melted.
- Add cooked macaroni and bacon to sauce and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- For ultra creamy Mac & Cheese, serve as is topped with toasted panko and parsley. Or to serve gratin-style transfer to a large buttered baking dish or multiple buttered ramekins. Combine panko, butter, and salt and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly, top with parsley, and serve.
Chef Tip: Have fun with other additions to this elegant dish! Try sautéed mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts, cubed cooked squash, shaved truffle, or even cooked lobster chunks.