A great Homemade Mac & Cheese recipe is a must in every kitchen – IMO! And once you have a solid one, you can start to play around with what you add into it to make it more fun, fancy, or flavorful. This go around I am going to add in some asparagus and BACON! to make Asparagus Mac & Cheese a new favorite in your house.
The made-from-scratch sauce is a huge part of this meal – and it really is super simple. Making sauces from scratch is what Home Cookin’ is all about. If you can whisk – you can make this velvety sauce. And once you have the process down you can change it up with different cheeses, different seasoning and different flavors. Sometimes I add in some lemon juice to give it brighter flavor or I add in some paprika to give it a little kick.
You might be thinking – is this just a side dish? The answer is NO Asparagus Mac & Cheese is not meant to be a side dish – but it could be if you wanted. You could serve it with some baked chicken or grilled shrimp or maybe a pork tenderloin. But trust me when I say this recipe is enough to make a meal out of it. And every other week I try to do a ~mostly meatless~ option for dinner! I can’t get away with no meat at all with my houseful of carnivores, but bacon usually placates them. I usually put out a nice simple green salad (lettuce, cucumbers, cheese, tomatoes, croutons and dressing of choice).
If you like this recipe and want more like it you can purchase the Homemade on a Weeknight Cookbook in Paperback or Kindle (eBook) versions through Amazon to get over 100 more recipes developed by me!
Now Let’s Get Cookin’
Asparagus Mac & Cheese
- 1½ lb Short Pasta rotini, shells, elbows, penne
- 1 lb Asparagus cut in 2-in pieces
- 1 lb Bacon cut in 1/2-in pieces
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 3 tbsp Flour AP or Whole Wheat
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1½ cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese shredded
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Parsley
- Prepare all of the ingredients. Start water boiling for pasta
- In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add bacon pieces. Cook until crispy and remove to a plate with a paper towel.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on the package. In the last 2 minutes of cook time add the asparagus to the boiling water. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water to arrest cooking process then return to pot.
- While the past is cooking, in a separate saucepan over medium heat, add butter and garlic powder. Cook until butter is completely melted then whisk in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth and cook for 3 minutes more. Whisk in heavy cream and cook 3 minutes more. Add salt and begin to add cheese by the handful, stirring regularly, until all is added. Then stir in parsley.
- Pour sauce over cooked pasta and asparagus and combine well. Stir in half of cooked bacon. Serve in a pasta dish with a sprinkle of remaining bacon on top.