The main content
Grilled Chicken-and-Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Grilled Chicken-and-Bacon Mac 'n Cheese


  • 6 slices good-quality smoky bacon, such as applewood smoked bacon

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 pound whole wheat short-cut pasta

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced

  • 2 rounded tablespoons flour

  • 1/2 cup cloudy apple cider or chicken stock

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded

  • Chopped flat leaf parsley or celery greens, for garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the bacon on a slotted broiler pan or on a rack placed over a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Chop and reserve. Switch on the broiler and position the rack in the center of the oven. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt it, add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the instructions indicate, or until just shy of al dente. Drain and return to the pot. While the pasta is working, heat a grill pan or cast iron griddle over medium-high heat. Drizzle the chicken with EVOO to coat lightly, then season evenly with paprika, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Transfer to a cutting board and halve the pieces lengthwise, then thinly slice them crosswise. While the chicken cooks, melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until light golden brown and very soft, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the cider (or stock), then add the milk. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add the chicken, bacon and sauce to the pasta and transfer to a casserole. Broil until bubbling and browned, about 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley or celery greens.