1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the box instructions in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.
2. In a hot saucepan, fry the bacon until it is crisp and golden but not completely crispy. Add a bit of butter, finely chopped shallots and thyme. Fry until the shallots are translucent. Add plain flour and stir until you get a paste. Slowly add chicken stock while stirring. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Top with grated Castello® Extra Mature Cheddar and stir until the cheese has melted and you have a nice smooth sauce.
3. Drain the pasta, pour into a coated baking dish and top with the cheese and bacon sauce. Add breadcrumbs and grated Extra Mature Cheddar (1.75 ounces). Bake for 25 minutes at 400° F and serve immediately.
When dealing with a dish such as this, choosing the wrong cheese could result in a fragile or plain taste. Finding a cheese with a noticeable kick and flavor is key to getting the iconic mac and cheese taste. When deciding what cheese, you want to add, you should always choose one that compliments the other ingredients. For the best results, we use Castello® Extra Mature Cheddar in our recipe. The tangy aromas and nutty nuances match the kick from the bacon perfectly, while also promoting the iconic mac and cheese taste. This matured cheese adds substance and flows in harmony with the bacon, while sprigs of thyme emit beautiful aromas of fresh lemon and mint. During the 17 months of aging, naturally formed salt crystals have broken down the body of the cheese, creating a crumbly texture that dissolves effortlessly. If you want to add something unique to your Bacon Mac and Cheese, try combining it with vegetables or cheeses, i.e. Parmesan, or get inspired by some of our many other mac and cheese recipes.
When deciding what drink should accompany your mac and cheese, always choose flavors that taste good together, as you would with ingredients, as some wines and beers may suppress the deep and rich taste of the bacon and cheese. Both wine and beer should seek to compliment the strongest flavors. When choosing your wine, you ultimately decide what you prefer, but the correct wine greatly elevates the overall experience of your meal. Our Castello® Extra Mature Cheddar sits well with the vivid and mild tones of a Pinot Noir, while also being a great pairing with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon. If opting for beer, look for one with mild bitterness and a malty palate, i.e. an English Pale Ale.