I am always trying to find the best mac and cheese recipe, I just love the stuff. This is a recipe that I have come up with by trying other recipes and finding what worked best for me. I fixed this recipe last week and Dan loved it so much that he thought I should take it over to my sister's house for Easter. The entire family loved it, I just couldn't say what was in it. This can easily be doubled and serve 8 as your main meal.
The Ultimate Mac and Cheese
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 bay leaf
3 oz. pancetta, diced
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
2.5 oz. Gruyere, grated
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
8 oz. dry penne pasta
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
6 oz. Monterey Jack, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil a large pot of salted water.
Heat milk in small saucepan on low heat. Melt butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, pancetta and bay leaf; cook until soft, about five minutes; stirring often. Add flour and cook 2 minutes; stirring often. Slowly whisk in hot milk, bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, whisking often, until thick and smooth. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, nutmeg, hot sauce and pepper to taste. Remove and discard bay leaf. Stir in Gruyere and blue cheese.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well and return to pot. Toss with lemon zest and Jack cheese. Add cheese sauce and combine. Stir in parsley and transfer to shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmigiano and breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbly and golden brown about 25 to 30 minutes.