Savory Mac & Cheese with RITZ Crackers
- 5 lb.penne pasta, uncooked
- 3¾ lb.onions, medium dice
- 2¼ lb.butter, divided
- 7 oz.flour
- 1 Tbsp.plus 2 tsp. salt
- 2½ tsp.pepper
- 2 gal.plus 3 cupsmilk
- 3¾ lb.shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2½ lb.cream cheese, cubed, softened
- 1¼ lb.shreddedMonterey Jack cheese
- 6½ lb.bacon, cooked, chopped, divided
- 1¾ lb.RITZ Crackers, crushed
- 1 oz.fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 oz.fresh thyme, chopped
Nutrition per serving
Cook pasta as directed on package.
Meanwhile, saute onions in 2/3 cup butter until caramelized; set aside.
Melt 15 oz. of the remaining butter in large saucepan on medium-low heat. Add combined flour, salt and pepper; cook 2 to 3 min. or until thickened, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; cook just until mixture comes to boil and thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Stir in cheeses; cook until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in onions and about 1-1/4 qt. of the bacon.
Drain pasta; place in large bowl. Add sauce; toss to coat. Spoon about 1-1/2 cups into each of 50 (5-inch) greased crocks; place in sheet pan.
Melt remaining butter; mix with cracker crumbs and herbs. Top each crock with 3 Tbsp. of the cracker mixture.
Bake in 300ºF-convection oven 10 min. or until lightly browned and bubbly. Top each with about 1 Tbsp. of the remaining bacon.