There is something about macaroni and cheese that gets me every time. It is my Achilles heel; my guilty pleasure; my weakness! In light of this, I am sure you are not surprised to hear that my contribution to this year’s Thanksgiving feast was Bobby Flay’s dangerously addicting Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara. I was quite impressed with this dish for its ability to elevate my cooking skills, which are typically less than impressive. It seems that the same sentiment was shared with those who savored each bite; my side dish is still getting rave reviews even two days after it was served!
Read below to find Bobby’s magic recipe, courtesy of CookingChannelTV.com. Give it a try tonight or keep it in your back pocket for that special occasion when you need to bring out the heavy artillery to really make an impression. I can guarantee that you (and your food critics) will be amazed.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-inch thick piece pancetta, cut into small dice
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 to 7 cups whole milk, heated
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups freshly grated Asiago cheese, plus more for the top
- 1 1/2 cups Irish white Cheddar, plus more for the top
- 1 1/2 cups Mountain Valley Cheddar, plus more for the top
- 1 cup grated Fontina cheese, plus more for the top
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for the top
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked just under al dente
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 3 quart baking dish and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook until lightly golden brown. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 6 cups of the hot milk, increase the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until incorporated and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the thyme, cayenne, and all of the cheese until completely melted, season with salt and pepper. If the mixture appears too thick, add some of the remaining milk 1/4 cup at a time.
Place the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, reserved pancetta and parsley and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Combine together additional Asiago, Cheddars, Fontina, and Parmesan in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the macaroni. Bake in the oven until heated through and the top is lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.