This is our adaptation of Ree Drummond's Fancy Mac. It has become an instant hit in our house, and while it seems lengthy, it's actually quite easy to prepare. Take this recipe for a spin, and make it your own by switching up the ingredients to your liking, after all, isn't that what being in the kitchen is all about?
- 3 jarred piquillo peppers, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 package pancetta, diced
- 1 Tbl EVOO
- 5 Tbl unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 oz. goat cheese (chèvre)
- 1 1/2 lbs macaroni noodles, cooked and drained
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 Tbl aleppo pepper or other chili flake
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350ºf
In a large dutch oven, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until almost crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Drain all but 1/2 Tbl of the oil from the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 Tbl of the butter to the pan. When melted add the onions and leeks. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally. About 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve.
Add remaining butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Slowly sprinkle in the flour as you whisk to combine, making a roux. Continue to cook for about a minute, whisking constantly. The roux should be smooth & golden.
Slowly pour in the milk as you continue to whisk. Cook the sauce for about 5 minutes, over medium heat, until it has begun to thicken and is simmering.
Now add the half and half, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp aleppo pepper. Stir to combine.
Temper the beaten eggs with some of the prepared sauce. Pour the tempered eggs into the sauce, whisk as you pour, to fully incorporate the eggs.
Add the 3 grated cheeses along with the goat cheese, stir until everything has melted and has become well combined.
Add the reserved noodles to the sauce and fold together until the noodles are well coated. Add some pasta water or more milk to the sauce if it becomes too thick.
Layer in a buttered dish as follows -
1. onion/leek mix
3. diced piquillos
4. crumbled feta
5. cooked pancetta
The layers should end with the pancetta.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until nice and bubbly, gooey and golden - just the way Mac & Cheese should be!