Kentucky Hot Brown Mac and Cheese combines the flavors of the iconic sandwich with a creamy mac and cheese.
The first week of May. It’s a Trifecta of food blogging nirvana! Do you know what is coming? (not Winter, thankfully) Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day… all within four days of each other! Can you handle it? I’ve at least got some good grub for you to help celebrate, starting with this Kentucky Hot Brown Mac and Cheese.
Last year I created a Kentucky Hot Brown Pizza which is pretty fantastic but I don’t always want pizza. I don’t always have time for pizza. Because if I’m baking at home I’m going to make my homemade crust. Other options need not apply. But the ingredients of a Kentucky Hot Brown… turkey (sometimes chicken), crispy bacon, cheesy white sauce, tomatoes… those bear repeating. In more ways than just the standard sandwich.
So macaroni and cheese. I jumped off from this Panera Bread copycat recipe then took a trip down South to Kentucky to borrow from their classic Hot Brown. This macaroni and cheese is creamy, dreamy deliciousness. It’s really hard to go wrong with a big ‘ol casserole dish filled to the brim with macaroni, cheese, bacon, tomatoes and cheese.
Later this week I’m going to be sharing a recipe for Mini Kentucky Derby Pies – that’s basically a chocolate chip and pecan cookie wrapped in pie crust and topped with bourbon spiked whipped cream. I tested that recipe before this mac and cheese so the mini pies were our dessert after this casserole for lunch on Saturday. It was fabulous… and I may have needed to unbutton my pants.
Also this week I’ll be testing margaritas and other Mexican fare to figure out what to post for Cinco de Mayo. Plus I still have to figure out what other tasty brunch treat to share to go along with my Eggs Benedict Breakfast Bake. Because if that isn’t a Mother’s Day recipe to behold, I don’t know what is! The sacrifices I make for you, I tell ya’! It’s a tough job but I am up to the challenge… even though this “trifecta” week might be a little more indulgent than most. Now go make some of this too good to pass up macaroni and cheese!
Kentucky Hot Brown Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups (8 oz) bowtie pasta
- 4 tbsp butter divided
- 1 clove garlic peeled and pressed
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese shredded and divided
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 rotisserie chicken white meat only, shredded
- 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 can (14.5 oz) fired roasted tomatoes drained
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Butter a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside.
Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and stir in a little butter. Cover and keep warm.
In a large sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the garlic and flour and stir with a whisk constantly for about 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to boil and thicken and becomes smooth. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, salt and smoked paprika.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in 6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) of the Monterey Jack cheese and all of the Parmesan cheese until melted.
Stir in the shredded chicken, cooked bacon, drained tomatoes and cooked bow tie pasta. Mix until well combined.
Pour the mac and cheese into the buttered casserole dish.
Sprinkle the Panko bread crumbs and remaining 2 oz. (1/2 cup) Monterey Jack cheese over the top.
Bake the mac and cheese for 20 minutes. Turn the broiler on high and broil for about 2 minutes until top is beginning to brown.
Sprinkle the top of the Kentucky Hot Brown Mac and Cheese with the chopped basil and serve immediately.