Heat a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add six strips of diced bacon, sliced onion, and minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes or until the onions caramelize and the bacon is crispy. Transfer the mixture, including the bacon fat, to a plate and set aside.
To the skillet, add two cups of vegetable stock, a cup of heavy cream and three diced red potatoes. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a gentle boil, and add 8 oz. penne pasta. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until pasta is al dente (about 12 minutes).
When all the liquid soaks into the pasta, remove from the heat and stir in the 6 oz. grated Gruyere cheese and the bacon and onion mixture.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with applesauce.
You want Swiss cheese (obviously) that will give you the ooey, gooey glory. Gruyere is the perfect melting cheese. Other options are Emmental and Raclette.
For the ultimate cheese pull (stretchy cheese), never use already shredded cheese. Freshly grate a block of cheese, using the side with large holes!
Any short pasta you have on hand will work, such as Penne, Rotini, or Macaroni.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used.