Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In a skillet, cook the
Bacon (6 slices)
. When crispy, drain on a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Reserve 4 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Cook the
Penne Pasta (1 2/3 cups)
in salted water according to package's instructions. Reserve 2 tablespoons of pasta water.
In the same skillet, use the reserved bacon grease and sprinkle in
Unbleached All Purpose Flour (1/4 cup)
Whisk together for 3-5 minutes. The fat will absorb the flour to create a roux. Cooking will cook off the raw flour flavor.
When the roux turns sandy beige, pour in the
Half and Half (4 cups)
. Whisk thoroughly to prevent any lumps.
Keep whisking and add
Ground Nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
Salt (to taste)
Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
Unsalted Butter (2 Tbsp)
Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the
Cheese (5 2/3 cups)
, pasta water, and
Toss the cooked pasta in the cheese mixture.
In a buttered dish, layer in pasta with crumbled bacon. Reserve some of the crumbled bacon for topping.
Panko Breadcrumbs (to taste)
extra bacon and cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes. Cover with tin foil for half the baking time.
Broil for about 5 minutes to blister the cheese.