A bowl of warm, creamy (and crunchy) macaroni and cheese. What better way to warm the soul (and body) on a cold, rainy, windy Boston day. After I decided I would go against my natural instinct of crawling into bed on a dreary day, Thomas and I thought about what we would like to eat instead.
We didn’t take long to decide on mac ‘n cheese, the ultimate comfort food. Instead of cooking a box of Easy Mac or Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese, Thomas and I decided to embrace our inner mac ’n cheese-addict and go to Trader Joe’s to pick up ingredients and make our own mac ’n cheese from scratch.
We were inspired to bring pancetta into the picture by accident! I picked up a package of pancetta, thinking how nice it would be to add to my omelets in the morning when we realized that it would also be quite the savory addition to our mac ‘n cheese.
Pancetta Mac and Cheese
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cups milk
grated gruyere, cheddar, and parmesan cheese
ground red pepper
¾ lb pasta
1 ½ cups of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Melt 1tbsp butter in a skillet and then sauté pancetta until crisp, about 6 minutes. Add onion, garlic and a dash of red pepper. Add 2tbsp butter and flour and stir together. Add 2 cups milk and simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in cheeses. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt 4tbsp butter in skillet and sauté panko breadcrumbs until light golden brown. Stir in parsley.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a glass baking dish. Bright a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and leave it back in the pot. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix well. Pour the mixture into the buttered glass bowl and cover the top evenly with bread crumbs. Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown, around 30 minutes.