I. Am. Stuffed.
I feel like I’ve been eating non-stop for the past 3 days. Swiss fondue, cracked crab, strata with bacon, crème brulee French toast, turkey, quiche. And chocolate. So, so much chocolate. Christmas is really just an unending string of rich and delicious foods in my family. I love it.
So, in honor of this season of fats and carbs, I decided to post a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. Anyone already starting the New Year’s resolutions need not read any further.
This dish is rich, creamy, cheesy and crispy, all at once. It’s made with 3 different white cheeses: a Dubliner cheddar (Shawn’s favorite), an asiago and a Swiss. The Dubliner is sharp and nutty, the Swiss is smooth and creamy, and the asiago just helps balance out the two more complex cheeses. At my sister’s request, I added fried pancetta and green peas to the dish as well. They added a touch of color and a nice palette break from all of the noodle-cheese goodness.
I also added panko breadcrumbs on top for a little extra crunch. Panko breadcrumbs, for those of you who’ve never used them, are Japanese breadcrumbs that are super flakey and crunchy. You can find them at most grocery stores where the baking goods and regular breadcrumbs are. They aren’t very expensive, and definitely add a very distinct texture to everything. Trust me; once you use these breadcrumbs, you will never go back to regular ones.
This dish is so delicious and rich. I would most definitely serve it as the main course; it really doesn’t need to be on the side of anything.
What sort of rich and indulgent dishes did you eat over the holiday? THG
3 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. ground paprika
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups Dubliner cheese, shredded and divided
1 3/4 cups asiago cheese, shredded and divided
1 3/4 cups Swiss cheese, shredded and divided
4 cups spiral or macaroni pasta, cooked
12 oz. pancetta, fried and drained
1 1/2 cups green peas
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a large saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk continuously until golden brown and roux has a nutty aroma. Add milk and cream to roux and whisk until smooth. Add mustard, paprika, black pepper, salt and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Take out 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture and slowly whisk into the beaten eggs to temper. Add egg mixture to cream mixture and beat over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of each cheese to cream mixture and whisk until all cheese is melted and smooth. Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce and toss to coat completely. Add pancetta and cheese and mix to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix.
Pour pasta into a 9×9 casserole dish and spread evenly. Cut up remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter into small pieces and scatter over pasta. Take remaining 1/4 cup of each cheese and scatter evenly over pasta. Top with panko breadcrumbs, spread evenly. Bake until cheese is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden-brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.