Mac and Cheese with Chocolate and Bacon
This is my take on one of the signature dishes at Jack’s Bistro in Baltimore MD. Any time we go with friends the mac and cheese with chocolate is a favorite but they won’t share their recipe. The bacon flavor is a welcome addition but so is the plain version. Mac and cheese is one of my childhood favorites but Steve is not a fan. He loves this dish and I’m a happy girl to have finally made a believer out of him! I must warn you that this dish is addictive and this recipe makes a huge portion!!!!
  • 4 Oz. Bittersweet ( 60% Cacao) Chocolate* chips or a bar broken into small pieces
  • 2 Quarts of Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt
  • 1 Pound Small or Medium Shell Pasta
  • 3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 Cups Milk plus ½ Cup to thin the sauce if needed
  • 3 Oz. Smoked Gouda Cheese with Bacon*, grated
  • 1 ½ oz of Gruyere Cheese, grated
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground White Pepper
  1. Place the chocolate in a small food processor or heavy-duty blender and pulverize to a powder. Transfer the powder to a small container and set aside.
  2. Put the water, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the oil in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 - 10 minutes. Drain the pasta saving a cup of pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cheese, remove from heat and continue stirring until the cheese melts. Combine the cheese sauce and pasta shells in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper. If needed, thin the cheese mixture adding small amounts of the pasta water to achieve the desired consistency. Transfer the Shells and Cheese Sauce to a serving dish and sprinkle the chocolate over it. Serve the dish warm with the remaining chocolate on the side so your guests can sprinkle on as much on their serving as they would like.
  4. Save any remaining chocolate in an airtight container for another use.
*Feel free to use smoked gouda without bacon for this dish. We made both versions and liked them but the bacon was a clear favorite in the side by side comparison.
Recipe by Monica's Table at