Pancetta Mac N’ Cheese

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When your feel like being comforted and you have many cheeses, milk, pancetta, and pasta in your pantry; why not make a Pancetta Mac N’ Cheese

In New Zealand you cannot go to your local grocery store and pick up “exotic” cheese. The main cheeses in New Zealand are: Tasty, Colby, and Edam. There is no gouda, gruyere, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, Spiced Cheddar, etc. So when you come across “exotic” cheese at your novelty grocery store, you buy some and make the most cheesiest dish you can think of.

This creamy mac n’ cheese was especially made for my husband who LOVES mac n’ cheese. The bread crumb topping was the perfect finish!

Pancetta Mac n Cheese (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 8 tbs butter divided (1 stick)
  • 5 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Aged Dutch Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded smoked Monteray jack cheese
  • 1-2 tbs Cream Cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbs Italian herbs
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (or more) whole milk
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Bread Crumbs
  • 1 pound orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or large elbow macaroni
  • 1-2 tbs chives

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C
  2. Boil macaroni per instructions, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside
  3. While pasta boiling, in a skillet with 1 tbs butter sautét pancetta until crisp, drain excess fat and set aside
  4. In a deep saucepan melt 3 tbs butter, then add flour and whisk until flour and butter is combine and is a golden color; about 1-2 mins
  5. Gradually (about 1/4 cup at a time) whisk in cream, then milk; simmering until thick enough to coat the spoon; about 5 minutes, with intermittent stirring
  6. After sauce thickens add cream cheese, crushed red pepper, Italian herbs, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, mix and simmer for 1 minute
  7. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in cheeses (sauce will be very thick) ***do not cook cheese, it will become a grainy texture***
  8. Whisk in about 1/4-1/2 cup milk to thin out sauce as desired
  9. Add 3/4 of the pancetta to sauce and mix in
  10. Mix macaroni with cheese sauce and transfer to a oven safe dish
  11. In a separate bowl mix bread crumbs with 4 tbs melted butter and sprinkle over Macaroni
  12. Bake in the oven for 15 mins covered and 5 mins uncovered or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  13. Remove from oven and let the mac n’ cheese rest for 5 mins
  14. Serve with remaining pancetta and sprinkle chives

Inspired by: Spices in my DNA

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