Majestic Mac ’n’ Cheese

Hiver 2010
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food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

One taste and you’ll know this sophisticated take on everyone’s stand by pasta dish is a far cry from student fare. For best flavour, use good-quality lean pancetta, or substitute good-quality thick-cut bacon.

1 cup (250 mL) diced pancetta, about 6 oz (175 g)
3 medium leeks (white parts only), finely chopped
½ tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
⅓ cup (75 mL) unsalted butter
2 cups (500 mL) soft fresh bread crumbs (about half a kaiser)
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups (1.25 L) bow-tie pasta
4 cups (1 L) cold milk
¼ cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) powdered mustard
2 cups (500 mL) shredded Gruyère cheese, about 6 oz (175 g)
½ cup (125 mL) cubed Gorgonzola cheese, about 2 oz (60 g)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped parsley

1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook pancetta for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp and browned. With a slotted spoon, remove pancetta to a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Drain off all but 1 tbsp (15 mL) fat from skillet.Reduce heat to medium and add leeks and hot pepper flakes to skillet. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until leeks are tender but not browned. Add wine to skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until wine has reduced by half. Scrape contents of skillet into bowl containing pancetta. Wash and dry skillet.

3. Heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, then cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until crumbs are starting to brown. Add garlic, then cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and garlic is fragrant. Remove skillet from the heat. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

5. Grease a 10-cup (2.5-L) baking dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente. Drain well, then return to pot.

6. While pasta is cooking, cut remaining butter into small cubes. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together butter, milk, flour and mustard. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes until butter has melted and sauce is smooth and thickened.

7. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in Gruyère and Gorgonzola until melted and smooth.

8. Add sauce to drained pasta. Stir in pancetta mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Serves 6

What to Serve