Ok so I know I said we would be eating healthier and I swear to you we have. I have had some delicious string cheese over candy bars for a snack, I made Ragin Cajun Jambalaya the other night, with turkey sausage. But last night I caved. Well really last week I caved when I put this on the weekly menu. I didn't get around to making it last week, and last night I needed to make something for dinner that didn't require any defrosting.
I saw this Mac N Cheese recipe on Danielle's blog. My husband will eat anything that is wrapped in bacon, has some kind of bacon product in it, particularly he loves proscuitto. So the pancetta in this recipe caught my eye. I almost always opt for the proscuitto, but for this I stuck to the recipe & got the pancetta.
Mac and Cheese with Pancetta
From: Bon Appetit, September 2008
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups (or more) whole milk (I used 2%)
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 8- to 8.8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups panko
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 pound orecchiette or large elbow macaroni
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; saute until crisp, about 6 minutes. Add onion; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and garlic; stir 1 minute. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter; allow to melt, then add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in 3 1/2 cups milk; simmer until thick enough to coat spoon thickly, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheeses. Whisk in more milk by 1/4 cupfuls until sauce is thick but pourable. Season with salt and pepper. Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cool; cover and chill. Rewarm, stirring over medium heat.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko and stir until very light golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley. Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Return pasta to pot. Add warm cheese sauce; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over. Bake mac and cheese until heated through and topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
I did sneak in some 2% milk & some 2% sharp cheddar cheese, so while the 8 Tbsp of butter probably did us in in the calorie category, I shaved some of the fat off right? I also omitted the red pepper flakes, we had enough spiciness for the day with the jambalaya.
Now a fair warning, I cook for 2 people and didn't really read the recipe before making it. Yes it does say a 13x9 pan and yes that pan is filled to the top. Needless to say, I have a TON of mac n cheese leftover. And you really can't eat a lot of it, b/c it is so rich & delicious. So if you are only cooking for like 4 people, I'd cut this recipe in half.
And b/c I felt guilty about just eating mac n cheese for dinner, I forced us to have a salad.