- for greasing Butter
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 6 slices Bacon, sliced & cut into 1.25 cm / ½” dice
- 1 onion Yellow onion , diced
- 2 leaves Bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Paprika, sweet
- ½ tsp Cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup All-purpose flour
- 6 cups Whole milk
- for pasta water Salt
- 1 lb Elbow macaroni
- 4 cups Cheddar cheese , shredded
- to taste Salt
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F and butter a 33 x 23 x 5 cm / 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving behind butter and bacon fat.
- Add yellow onion and bay leaves to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in all-purpose flour until blended, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk until the sauce is smooth and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking until thickened. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, whisking frequently. Discard bay leaves.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and boil until a few minutes before al dente. Drain water and return noodles to the pot.
- Stir cheddar cheese and bacon into sauce. Season with salt. Add sauce to macaroni and mix well. Spread macaroni and cheese into prepared baking dish and scatter remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake until brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve.
- Combining different soft cheeses will build flavor. Mozzarella, Monterey Jack and goat cheese all work well