Bacon and Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese

Pump up the flavor of mac and cheese with three cheeses, bacon and Brussels sprouts.

Try Rach’s Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Balsamic Vinegar and Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad.


  • 2 pints or 1 large stalk Brussels sprouts, on the larger side
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3 pound center-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta (hollow short curls with lines) or penne
  • 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, divided


Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.

With a sharp paring knife, core the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves. Place in a large bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and par-boil the leaves for 2 minutes or so to tender crisp. Remove with a spider; drain and cool, then dry on a kitchen towel. Add more water to fill the pot back up for the pasta and return to a boil.

Heat a saucepot over medium heat with the EVOO and brown the bacon; remove and drain. Pour off most of the drippings, then add the butter and melt. Add the onion and garlic, stir for 5 minutes, then add a little salt and pepper; stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in wine to deglaze; whisk in the stock and then milk. Cook to thicken and season with nutmeg, to taste. Reduce the heat to low.

Boil the pasta for 5-6 minutes to just shy of al dente; drain.

Stir two-thirds of the cheeses into the sauce in a figure-eight motion. Drain the pasta, then toss with the Brussels sprouts, bacon and sauce and pour into a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and heat through in the oven, about 10-12 minutes.

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