Who doesn’t like mac and cheese? Throughout high school and middle school I survived off the stuff. I’d come home after school, take a nap and go to dance practice. But first, I’d put on a pot of water to boil and I’d make some macaroni and cheese. I was partial to the blue box variety (spirals, always) and it wasn’t until I got to college and discovered the beauty of my own kitchen that I started to experiment with new recipes and trying my hand at the real thing. So far this is my favorite variation of macaroni and cheese because it includes includes cheese, roasted garlic, and bacon. And lets be real, who doesn’t love those.
Here’s what you’ll need….
- 1 pound pasta (I used penne because that’s what I had, but next time I’d like to use something a little smaller…gemelli probably).
- one package (8 oz.) pancetta
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup roasted garlic paste*
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- CHEESE! About 2 cups, but this really depends on you and how much cheese you like (correct answer: A LOT). I used some parmesan and some Dubliner cheddar (shoutout to my roommate Sydney).
*To make roasted garlic paste, chop off the top of a head of garlic so all the the cloves are exposed. Rub the top with some olive oil, wrap it in some foil, and throw it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. When the head cools down, squeeze the garlic into a cup and mash up into a paste. While this extra step may seem annoying, please do it (seriously, do it) because it makes the pasts ten times better.
Throw some water on to boil, and cook your pasta till just a little harder than al dente. Easy, right? Steam your broccoli florets in a double boiler (don’t let them get mushy!!) and reserve when done. Do the same with the pasta. While the pasta and broccoli cook…
Pancetta is Italian bacon. Pancetta is good. Pancetta is even better in this pasta. Throw some of these cubed up pieces of heaven into a pan with some olive oil and saute until crispy. Take a slotted spoon, scoop up the cooked pancetta, and reserve on a plate. If your feeling really crazy, keep a little of the grease in the pan while you…
Make your sauce! Melt your butter in a pan until it just begins to foam, and throw in your garlic paste (remember how you promised to make it?). When the garlic begins to become fragrant, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to brown. Add the white wine until it is reduced, and then add the chicken broth and simmer until your sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. This is where it gets good…
Add the cheese! Return to a boil while stirring the sauce constantly. Add more cheese if you find this necessary. You should.
Put your pasta in the sauce mixture, and fold it in while the mixture continues to cook for about one minute. Add the broccoli and pancetta. Serve it up onto a plate and enjoy!