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Rich and creamy cavatappi mac and cheese with bacon and crunchy bread crumbs.
Last weekend, we took our yearly fall trip to the pumpkin patch. Its funny to me how different pumpkin patches are now then when I grow up, but I can't complain, because they're undoubtedly better! This one had a train, hayrides, pig races (seriously), and a ton of fun playgrounds, tunnels, and stuff to do for the kids. It's not so much about the pumpkins anymore, but more about fall familiy fun! Eli loved it, of course, and they had pumpkin doughnuts, so I was a happy camper too.
At one point, I noticed that there was a "Dad's Den." It had couches and a TV, and to the credit of the hundreds of men at the patch, it was empty. I made an off-the-cuff joke about it to my husband, and he looked at me very seriously and said "It's embarrassing to me that that room even exists." My husband is a modern SuperDad. I'm saying this without any irony, he seriously could write a book on being a kickass Dad.
When we got home from the pumpkin patch, we were all tired and took a LONG nap. I woke up a little earlier than everyone else and started on some comfort food from dinner. This mac and cheese recipe is borrowed from one of my favorite recipes from our local Culinary Institute. They have an awesome program where their chefs cook meals and freeze them, and you can stop by and buy them, almost like what you do with the freezer aisle at the grocery store but MUCH tastier. We lived off this mac and cheese when I was heavily pregnant and on maternity leave. It is simply the best.
I changed one major thing from the original recipe. I originally made the recipe as written, but I found that it dried out when I baked it, and was a bit disappointing. To me, dry mac and cheese is a sin. So, this time I made it I really did it as a stove top recipe, and then I threw the bread crumbs on top, and placed it in the oven for a very, very quick broil. Two to three minutes is all you need to get the bread crumbs nice and toasty, and also brown the top of a little bit. The sauce in this recipe is luscious. There's no other way to describe it, and cavatappi puts boring old macaroni to shame. There, I said it.
For the topping