There is a restaurant in the heart of downtown Seattle called The Icon Grill that Alex took me to on the first night we met. He was giving me a tour of Seattle (I was on vacation!) and sold me when he said they have the best Mac and Cheese he has ever had. We shared a serving and oh my goodness is it delicious! My favorite part of the Icon's Mac and Cheese is the topping. They call it "tomato snow". Here is my recipe using a "pesto snow". This is a perfect recipe to carry you out of the summer and into the chilly autumn nights. It will warm up your insides!
Crisp bacon to your liking (on the stove or in the oven). Let cool and break into crumbles, set aside.
Cook the pasta in boiling water according the package directions and drain.
Meanwhile, bring milk to almost a boil in a small saucepan. In a separate medium saucepan, melt butter and add flour. You are making a roux! Constantly wisk the roux for 2 minutes. Add the milk while whisking and cook until mixture is thick and smooth, about a minute or two. Take the pot off the heat and add the cheeses, salt, and pepper. Add the bacon and cooked pasta. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
Separate into 4 oven-safe dishes.
To make the topping, simply mix the panko bread crumbs with the pesto in a small bowl. Divide the mixture onto each dish of pasta. Let bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top is browned.