All the flavors of a bacon cheeseburger come through in each bite of this loaded mac n' cheese. You'll never reach for the box again!
- 1 pound short-cut pasta
- 12 strips bacon
- 1/2 medium onion (finely diced)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (divided)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
- black pepper
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
- 8 ounces Gouda cheese (grated)
- 4 ounces American cheese (grated)
- ketchup (for serving)
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Spray a 9x13” baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Lay two pieces of paper towel over a dinner plate. Set aside.
- Using a cheese grater or food processor fitted with a grating attachment, grate the cheddar, gouda, and American cheeses. Set aside.
- Finely dice the onion. Set aside.
- Finely chop the bacon. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt.
- Add the noodles to the water. Cook for 9-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.
- Drain the pasta in a large colander, and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until browned and crispy.
- Use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer the bacon pieces from the pan to the paper towel lined plate.
- Pour any remaining bacon fat from the pan, the return to the heat.
- Add the diced onion to the pan. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the ground beef to the pan with the onions. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until browned.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the ketchup, yellow mustard, garlic powder, ½ tsp. of salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- Add the bacon to the beef mixture, and continue to cook for one minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Once melted, add the flour. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Continue whisking for 1-2 minutes, until the roux turns slightly golden and begins to smell toasty.
- Slowly stream the milk into the pot while continuing to whisk.
- Cook the mixture, whisking steadily for 4-5 minutes, until it begins to thicken and bubble.
- Once bubbling, turn off the heat. Add the ground mustard, paprika, ½ tsp. of salt, and black pepper to taste.
- Add the cheese to the pot one handful at a time, whisking slowly after each addition.
- Once the sauce is smooth, add the drained pasta noodles and beef mixture to the pot. Stir until combined.
- Pour the contents of the pot into the greased baking dish and transfer to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, until the edges of the casserole are bubbling and the top is slightly browned.
- Remove the dish from the oven. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes before plating.
- Serve with ketchup, if desired.