6 to 8 servings
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 3cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons crushed thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and divided
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded jack cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook for 9 to 12 minutes, until al dente. It will continue to cook in the sauce in the oven. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saucepan heat the milk and cream with the thyme and garlic cloves. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to keep lumps from forming. Take the milk and cream and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked macaroni and the parsley and fold that all in to coat the macaroni with the cheese mixture. Scrape into a 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
While that bakes, heat a saute pan. Add the bacon, render the fat and cook until crisp.
To serve, scatter the bacon over the mac and cheese. Use a big spoon to scoop out servings, making sure you get some of the smoking bacon mixture on each spoonful.