This is an “over the top” variation on the standard macaroni and cheese. The different types of cheeses used, herbs and the pancetta give it more depth than your typical mac and cheese dish. If you want to impress your fellow mac and cheese aficionados, this one will do it!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-inch thick piece of 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 ½ cups Irish White Cheddar, plus more for the top
1 ½ cups Mountain Valley Cheddar, plus more for the top
1 cup grated Fontina cheese, plus more for the top
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for the top
Salt and freshly grated black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked just under al dente
½ 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 and cook until lightly golden brown. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 6 cups of 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 to thick, add some of the remaining milk, ¼ 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 sprinkly 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 for 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Bobby Flay – Food Network – Episode# BT0204