Gourmet

Champagne Mac and Cheese

If Champagne and crispy pancetta weren’t enough to elevate the already-perfect macaroni and cheese, these three Wisconsin classic cheeses sure did the trick.

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Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, diced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup Champagne
  • 2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Wisconsin gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  •   Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound elbow pasta, cooked according to package directions
  •   fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Directions

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add pancetta, cook until crisp, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Leaving rendered fat in pan, transfer pancetta to paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Add onions to pan and cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add butter, stir until melted. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in wine and milk until smooth. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in cheddar, gouda and parmesan until melted and smooth. Stir in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer cooked macaroni to large bowl. Stir in cheese sauce. Garnish with reserved pancetta bits, and if desired, fresh thyme.

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Use caution when adding cheese to the sauce–add over low heat or off-heat. Too high a heat can cause separation and toughness.