“Big Kid’ Cavatappi Mac and Cheese

Rich and creamy cavatappi mac and cheese with bacon and crunchy bread crumbs. 


  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta, dry
  • ½ pound bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Pinch of pepper, to taste

For The Topping

  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup butter, unsalted, melted


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain.
  2. In a a skillet, add bacon and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in bowl, leaving bacon grease in skillet.
  3. Add onions to skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove and add to bowl with bacon.
  4. Add butter, and stir until melted. Add flour, mustard, garlic seasoning, and cayenne. Stir for 1-2 minutes until mixture thickens.
  5. Slowly add in milk and chicken stock. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce hit to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until mixture is reduced.
  6. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and well combined. Add pasta, bacon and onions, stir.
  7. Transfer to a 9x13'' casserole dish. Combine panko bread crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Add bread crumb mixture to the top of the casserole.
  8. Set oven to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until the bread crumbs are well toasted and the top of the mac and cheese has formed a light crust.
  9. Cool slightly before serving.

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