Bacon Mac & Cheese with Wisconsin Gruyère

by Alice Currah on October 18, 2010. Updated November 23, 2010

[donotprint] I’m smitten with Chef Michael Symon. Not because he is an Iron Chef, Food Network host, or owner of acclaimed restaurants – Lola and Lolita. I actually don’t subscribe to cable so I’ve never watched him on TV. Come to think of it, maybe I’m not actually smitten with him, but I am in love with his bacon mac & cheese. You should know, I’m not a huge mac & cheese fan, so this is saying a lot.

I’ve tried all sorts of mac & cheese recipes and I’ve never tried one this good. It instantly becomes memorable, from the first to the last bite. This recipe by Chef Michael Symon is heavenly, and it even called for rosemary, which I found odd to pair with a bacon mac & cheese. By the way – I’m not a huge rosemary fan either. I don’t mind adding the herb to soups but would never consider adding it to pasta…not ever. And then there were the four cups of heavy cream this recipe called for. I thought this surely was a typo. Four cups of heavy cream for one pound of dry elbow pasta – what the heck??!! But I learned through this recipe that heavy cream can be reduced with prolonged simmering into a very thick sauce without any added thickener.

Finally, there was the Wisconsin Gruyère cheese, which was unbelievably amazing. Yes… I said Wisconsin, Gruyère, and unbelievably amazing.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has teamed up with Chef Michael Symon to showcase its award-winning Wisconsin Cheeses and his creative recipes on a series of webisodes titled Favorite Foods with Chef Michael Symon. Each week a new webisode and recipe are aired with Chef Michael walking you through each dish from start to finish.

Today’s new webisode is featuring his bacon mac & cheese, which I am also showcasing here on Savory Sweet Life. Let me repeat myself: I love this bacon mac & cheese. It’s all that and then some.

The rosemary was subtle and not overpowering, which I was convinced it would be. I used thick, high-quality applewood-smoked bacon, which is a must if you plan on making this dish. It doesn’t necessarily need to be applewood-smoked bacon, but it does need to be thick and high quality. If you are going to invest the time in this amazing dish then use top-quality ingredients because, in this case, it matters. For this recipe I chose Upland’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve Wisconsin Gruyère, found at Whole Foods. This rich and smooth cheese just won Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition in Seattle a few weeks ago, deserving so. It pairs so well with the smoky applewood-bacon.

This dish tastes like something you would order at a very fancy expensive restaurant. It must be served as a main course because it’s just too good to be served as a side. So don’t even try it.

I highly recommend this recipe for mac & cheese lovers and skeptics alike. It will have you smitten, too.

Lastly, to me, this recipe is very gourmet. Young children may find the rosemary and Gruyère cheese too strong for their liking – but Michael states his nephews love it! Adults will surely love it! Enjoy!


Bacon Mac & Cheese with Wisconsin Gruyère
by Chef Michael Symon

Chef Michael Symon revamps this classic comfort food into a grown-up version, enjoyed by all. This recurring request at holidays and parties is simple to make and bursting with flavor. Featuring nutty Wisconsin Gruyère, bacon, macaroni, and rosemary, this smooth and smoky American essential will captivate the taste buds.

No.of Servings: 4–6

- 1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound bacon, diced, fried crisp and drained
- 1 pound elbow macaroni or short hollow pasta, cooked according
to package directions and drained, reserving 3 teaspoons pasta water
- 2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyère cheese, grated
- Chopped chives for garnish

Cooking directions

Place cream in large saucepan with rosemary. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil and keep at boil until reduced by half (be patient, this takes some time).

Stir in bacon and pasta and simmer until hot; add the Gruyère cheese and 3 teaspoons pasta water.

Stir until cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately.

Disclosure: Even though this post was sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, I thought this bacon mac & cheese recipe was AMAZING!

For more information about Wisconsin Cheese:

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia September 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for this. I made this for a bridal shower and everyone loved it!


Sharron Barfield October 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Some have tapped me as the gourmet of the macc & cheese dishes. I made your recipe for bacon mac & cheese with Wisconsin Gruyere. Southern mac & cheese pallets must be utterly different from other parts of our nation as this recipe was so
awfully rejected by my guests, and myself, the cook (me) was crushed. Thumbs down on this one.


Rotondo October 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

4 TABLESPOONS or Rosemary was waaaay too much! Ruined the entire dish.


Latoya July 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Omitted Rosemary and added some Cheddar cheese. Very yummy.


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