A big bowl of this creamy blue cheese mac is the ultimate comfort food. The past month has been challenging as well as emotionally draining and on top of it we are swamped with work. Getting ready for three big projects to wrap up 2017 is keeping us on our toes. With the emotional juggling we are dealing with, the only thing that is giving me some peace is making comfort food such as this rich and creamy blue cheese mac. I could barely stop at two bowls. Being honest there!
I have made this recipe two ways, a bit ole pot of creamy goodness as well as baking it with buttery bread crumbs. Every time, I come back to loving it as a big bowl of creaminess. Rich in flavor from the pancetta as well as the tangy blue cheese. I cannot even find the right words to express how perfect this bowl of creaminess is. Perfect is not good enough nor is yummy. Maybe decadent and inviting is good. Just make, you will love it!
Let’s chat about pasta for a hot minute as I have tried out a couple different types and all have worked perfectly with this recipe.
- Gluten Free (fresh pasta) – the only reason I tried this one was because I love this brand of pasta. The first time I bought it, I did not realize it was gluten free and I thought the flavor and how it cooked up was fantastic. Now I buy it whenever I see some of favorites at the market. I keep one or two in the freezer for emergency dinner.
- Regular Pasta (fresh) – another brand of pasta that I love as the flavor is rich and it cooks up beautifully. I am not sure if they ship but if so it is worth the goodness.
- Dried Pasta – I did not try any gluten free brands as I do not care for the dried ones I have tried but this recipe works well with regular dried pasta too.
- Cooking time – I under cook the pasta by 2 minutes as it will continue to cook with the bubbly hot and cheesy sauce. Be sure to drain the pasta very well before stirring into the cheese sauce. Do not rinse the pasta!
I have also left out the pancetta when I wanted a vegetarian version. If you opt for that route, sautéed the onion with a little olive oil.
Creamy Blue Cheese Mac
** serves 4 normal sized servings
1/3 cup pancetta, diced
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, hot
1 1/2 cups gruyere, shredded
4 ounces blue cheese
9 ounces rigatoni
Bring a large pan of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions. I undercook by two minutes as I find it usually continues cooking after draining and mixing into the hot cheese. I prefer a little al dente.
In a large saucepan over medium low heat cook the pancetta until soft but not crispy.
Add the onion, stir and cook for 3 minutes over medium low heat.
Whisk the flour into the pancetta onion mixture.
By now it is time to drain the pasta, then set it aside while continuing the sauce.
Over low heat, slowly pour the hot milk into the pancetta mixture, stirring the entire time.
Add the gruyere and blue cheese, stir until melted; about 3 – 5minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the pasta.
Stir to combine.
** optional, if you want baked Mac and Cheese divide the mixture evenly into buttered baking dishes. Mix 1/2 – 3/4 cups (depending how crunchy you like it) bread crumbs with 2 – 3 tablespoons melted butter and a handful of minced parsley. Scatter on top of the Mac and Cheese, then slide into a 425 preheated oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until bubbly and golden.