Bacon-Kale Mac and Cheese

Whether you're serving up this bacon-kale mac and cheese as a side, or as a full meal, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser with this unique touch to a favorite comfort dish.
Photography By Meredith Coe | January 15, 2015

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch kale, leaves chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup 1% or 2% milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425°F, with a rack in top position. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add macaroni, cooking until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain.

2. In a large saucepan, cook bacon until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and kale and cook until wilted, about 3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish.

3. Wipe saucepan clean. Place over medium heat; add butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to create a roux. Once it’s a paste, add half-and-half and milk. Turn heat to low, and cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. (Be sure not to let it get too thick.) Add sour cream and all but ½ cup cheese. Pour cheese sauce into cooked pasta; add kale-bacon mixture, and stir to incorporate.

4. Transfer cheesy pasta to baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, followed by panko. Bake until browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch kale, leaves chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup 1% or 2% milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
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