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Italian Mac and Cheese

Yield: serves 6-8, as a side dish
Author: The Little Epicurean

Ingredients

  • 16 oz gemelli macaroni, or pasta of your choice
  • 4 oz pancetta, or bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mixed shredded cheese (parmesan, asiago, fontina, mild provolone)*
  • 6 Tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Fill a large pot with water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain pasta.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • In a large sauce pan, add about a tablespoon of oil. When oil is warm, add pancetta. Cook until pancetta fat has been rendered and meat is browned and crisp. Remove cooked pancetta and drain over a paper towel lined plate. Leave oil and fat in sauce pan.
  • Whisk together flour, milk, and cream. Add to sauce pan and let come to a boil.
  • In another bowl, combine all cheeses together. Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese for topping, add remaining cheese to sauce pan. Stir and cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
  •  Add cooked pasta and cooked pancetta to sauce pan. Toss to coat pasta in cheese sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide pasta between serving bowls. Sprinkle reserved cheese mixture over pasta. Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese on top has melted and begins to brown. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

I used the Quattro Formaggio cheese blend from Trader Joe's. It is a shredded blend of Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, and Mild Provolone Cheese