Decadent Shrimp and Bacon Mac and Cheese



I created this recipe for my husband. He was convinced he hated mac and cheese. I knew his weaknesses though - cheese, shrimp, bacon, jalapenos. I put these together to make an amazing decadent, dinner party-worthy mac and cheese. He was convinced and is an annual holiday dish that he specifically requests.

pinch tips: How to Mince Garlic





20 Min


30 Min



Blue Ribbon Recipe

Notes from the Test Kitchen:
This recipe is proof that a good mix of cheeses makes a decadent dish. Add bacon and shrimp to the mix and you have a dish everyone wants seconds (or thirds) of. It's great just the way it is, but if you want to add a bit more bacon and shrimp. I am sure no one will argue with you!


2-1/2 tsp
salt, divided
1 lb
dry shell shaped pasta
5 Tbsp
unsalted butter, divided
1 c
medium cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c
extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c
monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 tsp
fresh garlic, peeled and minced
4 Tbsp
all purpose flour
2 c
whole milk
2 c
heavy cream
1/2 tsp
black pepper
1 c
gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 c
bacon, cooked and chopped
jalepeno pepper, chopped
8 oz
jumbo shrimp, shelled, de-veined and chopped
1/2 c
fresh bread crumbs
1/2 c
parmesan cheese, grated

Directions Step-By-Step

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat; add 1 teaspoon salt and the dry pasta. Return to a boil and cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander, return pasta to the pot and stir in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Toss in the medium Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Sharp Cheddar cheeses, and set aside.
To make a sauce, add 4 tablespoons butter and garlic to a 2-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes, or until butter is melted and garlic is softened. Add flour and stir continuously, using a whisk, to combine. Continue to cook over a medium heat and gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Stir continuously to prevent scorching; cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Remove from heat, and stir in 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and Gruyere cheese.
Pour sauce over the pasta, add the bacon, jalapeno and shrimp and stir until well combined.Pour the pasta mixture into the dish.
Toss breadcrumbs together with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over pasta. Bake in pre-heated oven until top is golden, about 30 minutes.

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