We consider ourselves connoisseurs of homemade cheesy pasta, having tried many additions and variations over the years. (We shared a version with ham here.) The hands down winner for our favorite type has to be this Bacon Cheesy Pasta
For the pasta, you can follow the box directions to cook or use this shortcut method:
- Place pasta in a pot and generously add salt.
- Add water to an inch above the pasta. Place on burner on high and bring to boil. This method requires you to check the pasta and let it cook to your desired doneness. With a little practice, the pasta will be ready right around the time you finish the cheesy sauce.
- Chop bacon into 1/2″ long pieces and add to pan set on medium high burner.
- Grate cheese and reserve for adding to sauce
Making Cheese Sauce
- Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy. The crispy texture works best with the soft and creamy pasta.
- Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the bacon and fat and stir constantly for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then slowly add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir and let roux bubble and thicken prior to adding the next portion of milk.
- Once all the milk has been added and the mixture has come to a boil, add the cheese, stirring in half at a time.
- Once the cheese has melted and is creamy, shut off heat. When pasta has reached desired doneness, drain and add to pan. Stir in pasta and taste. The bacon and cheese provide a lot of their own saltiness, but a slight amount of salt can be added and stirred in at this time to make the flavors pop.
- Let pasta and cheese sit for a couple minutes for the cheese mixture to absorb into the pasta and then serve!
Vegetable Additions: If desired, frozen vegetables such as peas, broccoli, or California mix can be added to the pasta for the last few minutes of cooking time and included. Fresh vegetables could also be used, adding them closer to the start of cooking the pasta.