Bacon Mac & Cheese (with a gluten-free option!)

I'm a huge fan of macaroni and cheese. I've shared my attempts at making it healthy before. Today, though, I was craving some creamy, luxuriously cheesy mac and cheese. The spaghetti squash and almond milk version just wasn't gonna cut it. However, I had the little issue that I gave up gluten for Lent...

What's a girl to do?

Why, craft her own, sinfully delicious, gluten-free version, of course!

Bacon Mac & Cheese
(with gluten-free options!)

2 cups uncooked pasta (I used Trader Joe's gluten-free, brown rice pasta)
1 piece of bacon
1 T. unsalted butter
2 T. cornstarch or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or non-fat, plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
2 cups of cheese (I used Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar and organic shredded cheddar)
Salt and pepper, as desired for taste

Cook bacon until crispy in a large saucepan. Keep enough bacon grease in the pan to coat the bottom. Set bacon aside to cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain water and set aside.

In the saucepan with bacon grease, add butter. Once melted with the bacon grease, mix in flour or cornstarch until bubbly. Add milk and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes.

Remove the milk mixture from heat and immediately stir in cheese (and yogurt, if opting for that instead of mascarpone). Crumble up the cooled bacon and add to the mixture. Stir in cooked pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When I made it, I used the gluten-free options, but there was no discernible difference from the gluten-containing versions I've made in the past. I can't say it's the prettiest of recipes...but man, did it taste amazing! It's quite possibly the best batch of mac & cheese I've ever made, and I've experimented with quite a few different recipes. 

I highly recommend everyone try this out on their next splurge day :)


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