What better way to surprise our girls when they come home from college and find some good old fashioned comfort food like Mac and Cheese. I had some pancetta leftover in the fridge and decided to use it with this recipe to give my mac and cheese a little more punch of flavor. And, it did!
The pancetta added a nice smoky flavor, not too overpowering. While the trio of cheeses I used, mozzarella, mild cheddar and Gruyere gave it a nice mild flavor to this mac and cheese along with the creamy-cheesy texture everyone adores.
Everyone gave me a thumbs up, even my daughter who is a picky eater. I was so happy it turned out really well! Best of all, no need to use a mixing bowl, all the ingredients are easily blended into your baking dish, making clean up a little easier.
The best part is taking leftovers (if any) for lunch the next day! Enjoy!
Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions
- 2 cups elbow pasta
- 1 package (4 ounces) Pancetta-chopped
- 2 to 3 medium Sweet Onions-chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup shredded Mild Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese -divided
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese -minced
- 1 +1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1/8 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
- olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray lightly all sides of a (7 x 11) medium size casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, cook the elbow pasta in boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cook pasta for about 7 minutes until "al dente." Drain.
Meantime, in a large skillet, cook the pancetta until fully cooked and crispy.
Drain and discard the fat. Transfer to a 7 x 11 baking casserole dish.
In the same skillet add olive oil and sauté the onions for about 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are tender and golden brown. Transfer onions to the baking dish.
Using a wooden spoon, transfer the cooked elbow pasta to the baking dish. Add 1+1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella (reserve the other 1/2 cup for topping), cheddar cheese, Gruyere cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper. Pour in the half-and-half.
Stir and mix everything until well combined.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove and stir gently. Top with remaining shredded mozzarella. Bake for additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is completely melted. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.