Take It Easy, Cheesy

Last week I sounded like a country song.

This week I sound like an Eagles song.

Ah, well.  If I have a bit of a theme going, I’m not going to fight it.

Next week you can expect a post about Bette Davis’ eyes.

As a side note, that may be the best music video I’ve ever seen.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kim Carnes for her contribution to society.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Over the last week, between work and social events, I haven’t had much of a chance to rest up and have some down time.

Friday was the perfect opportunity to slow it down and enjoy some relaxation.

With a little of this:

Along with some very good company (in the form of my buddy, Chrissy) and good food.

I know that mac ‘n cheese has been all over the food blog scene like go-go boots on a cheap hooker, especially on this blog (see here and here…and here).

But I made mac ‘n cheese on Friday, you guys.

And it was good.  It was even grood. (see: Mean Girls)

It had pork in it.  And a lot of cheese.  Oh, and some veggies.  Ergo, it was a well balanced meal.

Pancetta Brussels Sprout Mac
Serves 4-6

8 oz uncooked short pasta (I used farfalle)
2-3 oz cubed pancetta
4-5 large brussels sprouts
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 T flour
1 T + 1/2 T butter
1/2-2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup white cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup fontina, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Heat boiling water in a pot and add pasta once boiling.  Drain once the pasta is al dente and return to pot.
3. Cook pancetta over medium-low heat until lightly crispy and it has rendered most of its fat.  Remove from pan.

4. Trim brussels sprouts and thinly slice them into ribbons.
5. Add brussels sprouts and onion to the skillet with the pancetta grease and lightly fry until the onions are translucent.  Add pancetta and sun-dried tomatos to skillet, stir and remove to a separate bowl.

6. In the same skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 T butter. Once melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk to create a roux.  Next whisk in milk slowly until a loose sauce forms.
7. Add cheese to the sauce, remove from heat and stir to combine until cheese is melted.
8. Add vegetable/pancetta mixture and cheese sauce to the pasta and stir to combine.
9. Lightly spray a casserole (9×9 or 8×11) with cooking spray and pour pasta mixture in.  Sprinkle with panko.
10. Cut remaining butter into small cubes and scatter over pasta.
11. Bake for 15-20 until bubbly.  Turn oven up to broil and watch carefully.  Remove once the top begins to turn golden brown.

Chrissy and I dug into this casserole like gangbusters.

I’m surprised I was able to restrain myself and take a modest portion.

And now I have leftovers.  Mmmmm.

Of course, that was the end of the relaxation for the evening because clearly I had to go out and get my dance on.

All in a day’s work.

11 thoughts on “Take It Easy, Cheesy

  1. “She’ll tease you, she’ll unease you… ”
    Is it weird that I kind of love that song?
    I also love mac’n’cheese which I know isn’t weird. I should probably lead with that.

  2. This post is amazing. I love the 80s and I love mac and cheese. I love wine and I love brussels sprouts.

    You rule.

  3. i want to eat at your house. I could really go for some mac and cheese. Or just some cheese. I JUST finished telling a coworker that I didnt want my morning snack because I wanted cheese instead. I have a problem.

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