Servings 6 servings


  • 1 pound pasta - I used rigatoni
  • 1/2 lb bacon optional/omit for vegetarian
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese I used the unexpected cheddar from Trader Joe’s it’s 🔥
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère
  • 1 cup bread crumbs I used Panko
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s barely al dente. For example, the rigatoni I used said to cook for 13 minutes and I cooked it for 8 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.

  2. For the bacon, lay on a baking sheet in an even layer and place in the cold oven then set the heat to 375 degrees. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until your bacon is at its desired crispiness.
  3. While the bacon and noodles cook, heat your butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once it’s melted, whisk in flour and keep whisking until the flour is foamy (3ish min). Slowly whisk in the milk then add your garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer then add your cheese! You can also add your bacon grease at this time as well. Once it’s combined, add in your cooked pasta and bacon. Toss to coat the noodles in the cheese sauce.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into a baking dish and top with bread crumbs & parmesan cheese. Bake until the bread crumbs turn golden brown and cheese bubbles (30ish minutes).

  6. Serve while hot and enjoy!