Macaroni & Cheese With Pancetta

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When making macaroni and cheese with pancetta, you really need to prepare yourself for something so delicious your family will beg for more. Make macaroni and cheese with pancetta with help from the founder and owner of CapMac in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Pasta, Cheese, & More
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Brian Arnoff from CapMac. Today, we're making mac and cheese with pancetta. Over here I have all my ingredients. We have a little butter, flour, we have our pancetta, we have two kinds of cheeses here, fontina and cheddar, a little onions, a little bit of our house seasoning blends, some Panko and some Dijon. We're going to start off by putting our heat on about medium and adding our butter to the pot. While that butter is melting, we can talk a little bit about pancetta. Pancetta is a, it's more of a bacon. It's pork belly that's been rolled and cured, but not's smoked, which really is what separates them apart. It's typically seasoned with black pepper, rosemary and other traditional Italian herbs. So, we have some here that we're just going to add to the pot to start rendering. Then, I'm going to cut this piece up. Well, you want to cut it up in about a quarter inch cubes, it's going to render down and it'll be a little crispy and a little chewy in your mac and cheese. Next, we want to grate up our mac, our cheese here for the mac and cheese. We have our cheddar. This is a two-year aged cheddar from Vermont. The aging really gives it a lot of sharpness and brings a big depth of flavor to the dish. Next, we have our fontina cheese. This is a little bit of a softer cheese from Italy. It's traditionally made in the northern mountainous regions of Italy. We have about a total of 16 ounces of cheese here. And that looks like it should be good. So, there's all of our cheese. Our pancetta has begun to render, we want to give this a little stir. Everything's looking real good in there. We're going to add a little onion in here, it adds a little aromatic quality to the dish and a little bit of depth of flavor. Crank your heat up all the way to high here, really get this onions and pancetta going. In the meantime, I'm going to crack one egg, we're going to use it as a binder for our mac and cheese. It's really going to help when we bake it in the oven. You want to just give that a little whisk and set that aside. Next, we're going to add a little bit of, what I like to call a house seasoning here at CapMac. This is sort of our secret blend of seasoning. It has a little bit of fennel, coriander, chili flake, it adds a great depth of flavor to any dish with a little bit of pork or chicken in it. It's really lovely. Finally, we're going to add our flour to the pot. This is going to form our roux which is going to thicken our sauce. You can change to a whisk, really get that flour incorporated with the butter and your onions and your pancetta. While that's cooking, we can add a little Dijon mustard to the pot. The Dijon really adds a little brightness, a little tartness to the dish and you know, something in the background that will set this mac and cheese apart from other mac and cheeses. Finally, to create our sauce, we're going to add three cups of scalded milk. You want to add this slowly to the pot to ensure we don't end up with lumps. We're going to whisk pretty vigorously here. As you can see, it's already steaming and boiling nicely. It's going to thicken pretty quickly. You want to make sure that you're really scraping all the bits off the bottom of the pot. In French cooking, they call that le fond. It's really where your flavor has developed from all that pancetta rendering down. Next, we want to add our macaroni. Here we have about a half pound of cooked elbows. That goes right into the pot. Give that a quick stir. And then, we're going to add our cheese in about two additions. You always want to add your cheese a little bit at a time so that not to break your sauce and give each crow of cheese time to melt properly. You can see there that cheese is melting down beautifully and we would grab the rest of our cheese, sprinkle it in. While this cheese is melting, let's take some time to season our dish. We have a little Kosher salt here and we have a little bit of freshly cracked black pepper. It's always important to make sure you season your food well. After we give that a little stir, we're going to give it a quick taste and make sure that our seasonings are right on. Oh, that's delicious. You can taste the pancetta, the fontina, the cheddar, it's all blended together really nicely. Lastly, we're going to turn the heat off, we're going to incorporate our one beaten egg. This is going to be again the binder that really holds our entire dish together. So, now that we got that all stirred together, we're going to plate it up into our pre-sprayed pan. All you're going to do is spoon your mac and cheese into the pan. You can see how creamy this mac and cheese is. It's the fontina cheese that really melts down beautifully and adds that beautiful creamy texture. So, here it is with your pancetta. We're going to add a little bit of Panko breadcrumbs just for a crisp texture on top. We're going to pop this in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, allow it to brown up on top, get bubbly and delicious and then we'll be back with the final product. So, it's been about 25 minutes, we're going to dig into our oven here and grab out our mac and cheese. As you can see it's browned up beautifully. The Panko has really crisp up and our pancetta and fontina mac and cheese has come out beautifully. Thank you for watching, I'm Brian Arnoff with CapMac.

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