Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
5 slices white sandwich bread, with or without crusts, as you and your family prefer
3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 pound bacon, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons flour
1½ teaspoons dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat the broiler.
Tear the bread into large pieces. In a food processor, pulse bread and butter until you have coarse crumbs.
Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package until tender. Drain.
Dry out the pot and cook the bacon in the same pot over medium high heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove all of the bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into a heatproof bowl, then spoon 5 tablespoons of the fat back into the pot.
Heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat, and whisk in the flour, mustard, cayenne, paprika, and salt. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the milk and sour cream until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses until fully melted. Add the cooked macaroni and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until steaming and heated through, about 5 minutes.
Pour macaroni mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the bacon evenly over the top, then top with the breadcrumbs.
Broil until breadcrumbs are toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the broiler, let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.
*You can make this a day or two in advance, and keep it, covered, in the refrigerator. Let the dish come to room temperature. Cover with foil and bake on the center rack in a preheated 400°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until heated and bubbly. Remove the foil and broil for 3 to 5 minutes.