Packed with flavor from three cheeses, crispy bacon and buttery breadcrumbs
Cook pasta according to package. While the pasta is still warm, toss it with 4 Tablespoons of butter in a large bowl, and set aside.
In a large skillet, combine milk, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, onion, and dry mustard. Cook over medium-low heat until the milk starts to steam, about 10 minutes.
Cook the bacon in a skillet until crispy on each side to your liking. Remove from the skillet and let the bacon drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Saute the jalapeño and bell pepper in the same skillet until soft. Once soft, remove to a small bowl and wipe the skillet clean.
Strain the milk, and discard the solid infusers.
Add the remaining butter to your clean skillet, and melt fully. Once melted, add flour and whisk over medium heat for 4-5 minutes to create a roux. Do not let it brown.
Very slowly whisk the infused milk into the roux. Make sure to do this slowly to avoid any clumps. Continue to cook while whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the cream cheese, cheddar, and gouda cheese to the mixture. Stir until all the cheese melts and reaches the consistency of a cheese sauce.
Add the cooked pasta, peppers, and half of the bacon. Stir until thoroughly combined.
You can bake this in the skillet (as long as it is oven-safe), or transfer your mac and cheese to an oven-proof casserole dish. This is up to your preference!
In a medium bowl, combine Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the dish. Top with remaining bacon.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top. Let the baked mac and cheese rest for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!