Bacon Mac & Cheese with Gruyère

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Alice, Savory Sweet Life, recently posted this Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe and I knew immediately that my daughter would love it because she loves rosemary. We made it together on Sunday and I was right. She loved it the minute we rinsed the fresh rosemary in running water and the smelled permeated the kitchen. She loved it even more when she took her first bite.

The recipe, created by by Chef Michael Symon, creates a cheese sauce by simmering rosemary in heavy cream until it is reduced by half. This step creates a smooth, creamy cheese sauce that is infused with, but not overwhelmed by, a great rosemary flavor.

Gruyère is a good melting cheese with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. The bacon adds a great smoky flavor to the sauce and I wouldn’t omit it. Alice used an Applewood Bacon, but I opted for a shortcut and used the precooked bacon that I always have in the freezer.


This recipe is a delicious, dressed up mac and cheese, but it’s very easy to make and is perfect as a main dish. The original recipe said it made 4 – 6 servings. I was having 7 for dinner and I made 1.5 times the recipe which was way more pasta than I needed, even for a main dish. I’d say it makes 6 generous servings.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Bacon Mac & Cheese with Gruyère

Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 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


  1. 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).
  2. Stir in bacon and pasta and simmer until hot; add the Gruyère cheese and 3 teaspoons pasta water.
  3. Stir until cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately.

I used the Barilla Plus Elbow Macaroni. This pasta has 4 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein per serving. It tastes great and I feel better about serving it with a less healthy sauce. I also love the way they look. They are ridged with little twist and help dress up an ordinary macaroni salad or mac and cheese. I also use and love the other Barilla Plus pastas. (I wasn’t given any products or compensation for this rave review.)

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originally published November 1, 2010 — last updated July 24, 2019
Categories: Pasta