Pesto Bacon Mac & Cheese

Pesto Bacon Mac & Cheese

1.5 pound elbow pasta
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheese
8 oz pesto
4 slices bacon, chopped (set a few pieces aside for garnishing)
Salt, to taste
Panko bread crumbs

1. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and place it back into the cooking pot (with the heat off). Set aside. Preheat broiler.
2. In a skillet, heat oil and pan fry chopped bacon. Spoon out onto a paper towel and set aside.
3. In a large pot, melt butter on medium heat. Once butter is melted, add flour, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in milk slowly until well combined. Continue stirring until it thickens (about 2-3 minutes).
5. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese. Stir in pesto and bacon, leaving a few pieces of bacon aside. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Pour cheese sauce into pasta and mix well. Pour mixture into a baking dish. 

7. Top with Panko bread crumbs and bacon. Broil for about 3 minutes or until browned on top. 

Enjoy this delicious, cheesy dish with a sparkling drink or just some good company!

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