Grown Up Mac & Cheese

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own, as always 🙂 #pmedia #pastanight  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.

My family spent a short time living in Italy before we moved to the States twelve years ago and ever since Barilla Whole Grain Pasta has been a staple in our pantry. That didn’t change when I went off to school and since Ben and I have been married, we haven’t bought anything else (as far as pasta is concerned). I’ve shared a few of our favorite pasta recipes on the blog, and they’re all made with Barilla Whole Grain Pasta. Its an easy way too add a little more nutrients to your diet, and when you eat pasta as much as we do, it makes a difference.

Today I have a little grown up mac n cheese non-recipe for you. I love the mushrooms and bacon with the basil and full cheesy taste. Next time I’ll add some grilled onion but you can always just ditch all the extras and savor the taste of the creamy cheese combo. The beauty of pasta sauces is experimentation and using what you have in your kitchen. I’m giving the amounts I estimate when I make this, but feel free to add a little more or a little less as you cook!

For a lighter option, ditch the cheddar and use feta or goat cheese. You could even skip the butter, flour, and milk and just melt the cheese in with the hot pasta. I do this a lot during the winter when I’m in desperate need of comfort food but don’t want to put in the time (or all the calories).

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 C milk
  • 2 C of cheese (I used ricotta, parmesan, mozzerella, and cheddar)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 crispy pieces of bacon
  • 1/3 c sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • Barilla Whole Grain Pasta
  • breadcrumbs 

To Start:

  • Place two pieces of uncooked bacon along with mushrooms in a saucepan. Cook over medium to high heat until bacon is crispy (mushrooms will brown). Remove from heat and crush bacon into bits. You can chop mushrooms into finer pieces if you’d like. 

What You’ll Do For the Sauce:

  • Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour.
  • Add milk slowly, whisking as you do.
  • Continue whisking on medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, and basil. 
  • Melt in assorted cheeses. Stir to combine. 
  • Add most of bacon and mushrooms to the sauce (leave some for sprinkling on top). 
What You’ll Do After the Sauce:
  • Cook pasta according to directions on box.
  • Remove from heat a minute or so before it should be done (when its al dente)
  • Drain pasta and mix with cheese sauce.
  • Pour into greased baking dish. 
  • Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, a little bit of cheese, and remaining bacon/mushroom mix. 
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 
  • Remove and serve! 

You can find Barilla Whole Grain Pasta just about anywhere and at home we always buy it at Stop & Stop. Every once in awhile they have 10 for $10 sales and we stock up, naturally. 
Want more pasta recipes? These three are favorites of ours and I make at least one each week. 
-This incredibly simple sausage recipe we ate every night for a week


  1. I totally just pinned this. I love non recipe recipes and I love me so me mac and cheese. My husband's the cook but he doesn't like mac and cheese. I know crazy!! Maybe this is one I'd actually make.

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