Food Truck Mac and Cheese 


There’s a food truck here in Moscow that’s out late-night and serves up some great macaroni and cheese that always hits the spot. Eric asked if I could make this style of “food truck” mac and cheese at home, and after some research and attempts at making homemade mac and cheese before, I’ve figured out the perfect ooey, gooey, cheese filled shells with crunchy bacon mac n cheese – bacon makes everything better!

Though this is called mac n’ cheese, “mac” is a loosely used term since I’ve used shells here. Feel free to use any type of small noodle, like macaroni. The shells unlike macaroni noodles fill up with the cheese sauce and will give you little cheese filled pockets in every bite… yes please!
 The bacon gets stirred into the sauce along with the noodles, as well as sprinkled on top for the perfect salty crunch. My mouth is watering… 


Food Truck Mac n’ Cheese

Yields about 4 main servings, or 6 side servings.

Ingredients
8 ounces medium size shell noodles 
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced garlic –about 2 cloves 
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 and 1/2 cup gruyere cheese – shredded 
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 pound bacon – cooked until crisp and broken into small pieces
salt to taste

Preparation
Cook pasta per box instructions, drain and set aside*. In a heavy-bottomed medium sized pot, heat milk and heavy cream over medium heat. Add in garlic, thyme, and ground mustard, stir to combine. Bring to a slight boil and let reduce for about 8-10 minutes stirring often. Once reduced by about half, turn heat to medium-low and stir in cheeses in about 3 batches, each time stir until smooth before adding next batch. Add cooked pasta and bacon pieces*, stir until fully coated in cheese sauce. Give it a taste and add salt as needed*.

Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.


*Cooking pasta: If you’d like to cook your pasta in advance, cook per box instructions, but drain just before they reach al dente. Run under cold water, drain and coat noodles in about a tablespoon of olive oil so they don’t stick together and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days in advance.
*Bacon: Can reserve some of the bacon to sprinkle on top for serving
*In this batch I didn’t need to add any salt, but have had to in the past. I think it depends on the brand of cheeses and type of bacon.

This recipe is adapted from Damn Delicious.

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