Bacon Pimiento Mac and Cheese

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Two cheesy classics collide in this hearty stovetop treat. Look no further for comfort food perfection.

Bacon Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups chopped fresh collard greens (about 3½ ounces)
  • 10 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup chopped green onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 (12-ounce) container pimiento cheese
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
  • Garnish: pimientos, smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions, adding collard greens during the last 1 to 2 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch enamel-coated cast-iron braiser, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan.
  3. Melt butter with drippings in pan. Add green onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk until combined; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually stir in pimiento cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in hot sauce, salt, mustard, and paprika.
  4. Stir pasta, collard greens, two-thirds of bacon, and pimientos into cheese sauce until well combined; top with remaining bacon. Garnish with pimientos and paprika, if desired. Serve immediately.