Wednesday, November 21, 2012

pancetta thyme mac n cheese

 you know, i know someone who doesn't like cheese. i think that's blashphemous, don't you? i can understand a lactose intolerance. or if they experience severe allergic reactions that require an Epi pen having touched cheese. but if there's no better reason for not eating cheese then i just can't  get behind that. cheese is a glorious thing. it comes in so many forms and flavors. methods for making cheese are varying and there are so many unique types of cheese. one of my favorite ways to eat cheese (aside from just shoving it in my mouth) is via mac n cheese. and who doesn't love that? oh...wait...i know one person who doesn't love that. that just means more for everybody else!

i made a pancetta thyme mac n cheese adapted from Tyler Florence's Ultimate Bacon Mac n Cheese. twas delicious! give it a go!

i used a Cabot sharp cheddar which sort of didn't melt the way i wanted it to. it didn't turn out as creamy as i'd liked but it was still really great!

onions, pancetta, thyme and garlic

flavor infusing some milk with thyme and garlic

thickening agent

i mean....i could just eat the whole pot like this....

pancetta thyme mac n cheese

- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 4 cups whole milk
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 tbs unsalted butter
- 3 tbs all purpose flour
- 5 1/2 c shredded sharp white cheddar
- pancetta
-1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- leaves from 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 c garlic croutons
- 2 tbs melted butter
- salt and pepper to taste

1. boil elbow macaroni in salted water until al dente. drain and set aside.
2. preheat oven to 400 degrees F
3. over medium high heat, cook pancetta until crisp. transfer to plate and set aside.
4. in the same pan, using some of the oil from the pancetta, cook the onions down until soft and transparent along with leaves from 1/4 bunch of thyme and 3 minced garlic cloves
5. once cooked down, add to the dish with pancetta and set aside
6. in a small saucepan heat milk with thyme sprigs and four smashed garlic cloves
7. in a large, deep skillet, melt butter over medium heat
8. whisk in flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly
9. strain thyme sprigs and garlic out of the milk mixture and whisk milk into flour mixture
10. continue to whisk vigorously and cook until smooth
11. stir in cheese and cook to melt
12. add salt and pepper to taste
13. add the cooked macaroni and stir to coat.
14. add pancetta and onion mixture and stir until evenly distributed
15. pour into a glass baking dish
16. in a sandwich bag, crush croutons with a rolling pin. toss with melted butter.
17. sprinkle croutons evenly over mac n cheese
18. bake in oven until cheese is bubbling and croutons crisp up
19. serve immediately

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