Here during the height of the American Summer, this Canadian has been craving Macaroni & Cheese. Is it really some Canadian thing? Perhaps not, but I crave, nonetheless. Of course, if you’re going to give into a craving, I subscribe to the school of “Go Big or Go Home”. You could use any variety of cheeses; I chose one mellow, one smooth, and one a little sharp.
- 1 lb of study pasta (I chose my fave: cavatappi)
- 4 oz Gruyere cheese, diced
- 4 ox Fontina cheese, diced
- 4 oz St. Jorge cheese, diced
- 1/4 lb pancetta, diced
- 1/4 medium sweet white onion, small diced
- 20 oz vegetable stock
- 3 tbs all-purpose flour
- 2 tbs truffle-infused olive oil
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup home-made toasted breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper
Dice the cheeses while cold, then allow to come to room temperature in a bowl. Over medium heat, fry the pancetta; when it has been mostly rendered, add the onions, lower the heat, and allow everything to get greasy and translucent. Start boiling the pasta in a pot of salted water.
Prepare a roux of the oil and flour, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Bring the stock to a simmer, then add to the roux (thus creating a sauce velouté). Stir stir stir stir! Watch the heat, keeping it medium-low. Add the cubed cheese a little at a time, stirring like a madman. Stir! Add more cheese. Stir like your life depends on it! Dribble in a few drops of lemon juice; the acidity will relax the cheese and keep it from getting stringy. Stir! If the sauce begins to “break” or gets a clumpy/marbled appearance, you’re either too hot or not stirring enough. Lower the heat and stir like you mean it, you wimp! If the sauce is too hard, add a little hot pasta water. STIR! Do not over-estimate the amount of heat required to melt the cheese; it’s probably less than you think. And… don’t forget to stir.
Drain the pasta, drop into a casserole dish, and drown with the cheese-sauce. Stir! Scrape the pancetta/onion mix onto the top. Stir! Shake the crumbs on top, set under a broiler for a minute or two, then take it out and try Try TRY your hardest not to eat the damn thing while it’s 10000000 degrees hot. A little cooling will let the cheese set, let the top cool to crispiness, and let your otherwise-soon-to-be-burnt-mouth a chance at survival.