Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chipotle and Pancetta Mac and Cheese

I went to a White Elephant Gift Exchange and Mac and Cheese and Wine Party. If you haven't been to a White Elephant Gift Exchange, then you need to gather up your friends and have one. The gifts given are usually inexpensive, humorous, used or pointless items. If you want the full rules, click over to this Wiki page. I was happy with my gift, it was a Herb Garden made by Chia Pet which I've always wanted a little herb garden... I was actually a bit disappointed that it wasn't a Chia Pet. Others weren't as excited about their gifts, one receiving a car headlight and the other receiving a toilet plunger with anti-diarrhea medicine. Not cool. 

The other part of the party included people bringing in homemade macaroni and cheese. I spent hours scouring the internet for the perfect recipe. Did I want kale? spinach? bacon? Did I want to fry it? and after a while, I gave up and decided I'd come up with my own. Since I've been on a chipotle kick for the past year, I thought that I would include it in my recipe. This mac and cheese is delicious. It's not too spicy, but has enough kick at the end of every bite and the blend of cheeses is perfect... creamy, yet gooey and not too thick. The pancetta gives it that something extra, without being as overwhelming as bacon would be. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures, so the ugly pictures will have to do, but I swear it is DELICIOUS! 
Sean's Desert Mac and Cheese
Sean also thought outside of the box and came up with a desert mac and cheese recipe. His had cinnamon in his cheese, graham cracker topping, grated chocolate and a chocolate cookie. The flavors sounds like they don't go together, but once you take a bite, it was amazing. The flavors of the cheese and cinnamon complemented each other and the combination of sweet and salt (from the cheese) was perfect. I'll post the recipe, if I can get him to remember what exactly he did. For now, I will just share mine...


16 ounces elbow macaroni 
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons finely chopped chipotle, plus adobo sauce
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup English cheddar with caramelized onion, shredded (can be found at Trader Joes)
1/4 cup double cream gouda, shredded
3/4 cup fontina, shredded
Pancetta, diced


1. Fry diced pancetta in a pan. Remove and place in a bowl, set aside.
2. Add 2 chipotles into pasta water with adobo sauce. Cook and drain the macaroni as directed on the box. Return to the saucepan, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and keep warm.
3. In a very large saucepan, melt the butter. Slowly whisk in the flour and paprika and cook over moderate heat until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and the heavy cream, chipotle puree, paprika and salt and whisk until smooth. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the cheeses and cook over low heat until melted.
4. Pour macaroni into cheese sauce. Add pancetta and stir.

*Note: If cheese sauce is too thick, slowly add more heavy cream until desired consistency. If cheese sauce is too think, slowly add more shredded cheese until desired consistency.


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