Mac Down: the winning mac & cheese recipe

Is there anyone who doesn't love Mac and Cheese? FOX 2 recently held a Mac and Cheese Recipe Competition -- we called it our Mac Down -- and the winner was a cheesy, bacon-y mac and cheese made by our News Assignment Editor, Ellen Ellery!  

Mac Down winner Ellen Ellery pictured with her winning mac & cheese.

Ellen’s Winning Mac and Cheese Recipe

1 lb pasta, boil according to pkg directions (I use bigger shells because they hold the cheese sauce better)

24 oz of shredded cheese (I use a combo of cheddar and Monterey Jack but you can mix it up and use Gruyere, asiago or Parmesan too)

3 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp flour

2 cups milk (I use full-fat milk for this recipe)

½ teas onion powder

½ teaspoon seasoning salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 lb bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 2-quart dish with cooking spray.  Cook bacon, and drain on a paper towel. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook till tender.  Drain and let cool while you prepare the cheese sauce.

Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly. Whisk in milk. Stir in onion powder, seasoning salt, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Return cooled pasta to the pot it was cooked in. Add cheese sauce to pasta and stir until combined.

Pour pasta cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. You can top with grated cheese and return to the oven for a few more minutes until it melts. You can also turn the oven to broil for 3 minutes and brown the top of the dish if you desire.