Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese

This Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese is majorly delicious! Crispy pancetta, sauteed leeks, peas all in a creamy macaroni and cheese!

One of my favorite pasta dishes in life is linguine tossed with pancetta, Parmesan and peas. I could eat it all day every day.

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese l SimplyScratch.com

So I had a great idea. I took my favorite pasta combo and threw it in copious amounts of cheese. Three to be exact. I threw in some peas to make it *wink* healthy-er *wink*. The end result is a creamy, lusciously cheesy mac and cheese that you’ll no doubt lovingly hate me for. Sorry not sorry.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com ingredients

In this particular mac and cheese I wanted it to be ultra smooth, creamy and mild. So I picked my favorite cheeses; mozzarella, Fontina and Parmesan. It’s the perfect cheese trifecta.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com sliced quartered leeks

Trim off the white roots and the dark leafy parts to on medium-sized leek. Halve and then quarter the light green part and slice, it should be about a cup of sliced leeks all together.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com rinse leeks

I threw them into a mesh strainer and rinsed them good with cold water.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com drip drain

And then let them drip-dry while I worked on prepping the rest.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com minced 3 cloves of garlic

Smash, peel and mince up three good-sized cloves of garlic.

broth and half & half

In a two-cup liquid measuring cup pour in a cup of low-sodium chicken broth and to that pour in 3/4 cups of half & half.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com pasta

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the 12 ounces of pasta and cook as directed on the package. Meanwhile I start the cheesy sauce. If the noodles are done before the sauce, drain into a colander and keep tossing the pasta every so often as the sauce finishes so it doesn’t form a huge pasta clump.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com pancetta

Start with a cold pan and add in the diced pancetta. Heat the pan over medium heat to slowly render out the fat in the pancetta.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com crispy

Cook the pancetta for 8 to 10 minutes until crispy, stirring occasionally.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com drain

Use a slotted spoon to remove the crisped pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com leeks in the pan

Add the sliced leeks to the remaining fat in the pan.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com softened leeks

Cook the leeks until they are soft, about 5 minutes. What is it about the smell of leeks cooking in pancetta fat. Seriously someone should bottle this stuff.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com add in garlic

Add the three minced cloves of garlic to the softened leeks…

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com cook 1 minute

…and cook for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com whisk in butter and flour

Add in a tablespoon of butter and the three tablespoons of all purpose flour.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com whisk in to a paste

Whisk the flour, butter, the remaining fat and leeks in the pan to form a paste and cook that for a minute.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com pour

While you whisk, slowly pour in the broth and half & half.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com whisk until smooth

Keep whisking over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com cream cheese

Once that happens, add in the quarter cup of cream cheese and whisk until smooth.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com cheese!

Once smooth, add in all the cheese. That’s 1-1/4 cup of both Fontina and mozzarella and a half cup of freshly grated Parmesan.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com cheese sauce

Easy, breezy and definitely cheesy.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com pepper

Add in a 1/4 teaspoon of coarse black pepper.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com add in pasta

Then throw in the cooked and drained pasta.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com peas

The peas.

Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese www.SimplyScratch.com add in pancetta

And half of the crispy pancetta.

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese l SimplyScratch.com

Stir and heat until the peas are warmed through.

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese l SimplyScratch.com

Serve at once with a sprinkling of the reserved pancetta.

I’m not kidding when I say this Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese is G-O-O-D. It’s so luxurious and cheesy. We served it up with a fresh salad and a loaf of seedy-whole grain bread for the ultimate mac and cheese dinner.

My whole family LOVED this switch up on mac and cheese… but seriously, is there a mac and cheese recipe that isn’t scrumptious? I think not.

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese l SimplyScratch.com

 

Enjoy! And if you give this Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese l SimplyScratch.com

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 6 servings

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni & Cheese

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni & Cheese
My favorite pasta combination turned into a creamy mac-n-cheese!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce macaroni noodles
  • 5 ounces pancetta, diced small
  • 1 leek [light green part only], quartered and sliced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup fontina cheese, freshly grated
  • 1-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup petite green peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Season with Kosher salt and cook the pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile I start the cheesy sauce. If the noodles are done before the sauce, drain into a colander and keep tossing the pasta every so often as the sauce finishes so it doesn't form a huge pasta clump.
  2. Meanwhile; in a cold skillet add the diced pancetta and heat over medium, stirring occasionally until crispy. Remove the crispy pancetta with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Add the sliced leeks to the pan with the remaining pancetta fat. Cook over medium heat until softened. Add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Next add in the tablespoon of butter, sprinkle in the flour and whisk until the flour is absorbed into the fat. Cook for a minute or two.
  5. While whisking, pour in the chicken broth and half & half. Once the sauce has thickened a bit, add in the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add in the grated Fontina, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and stir until smooth and cheesy. Season with black pepper.
  6. Add in the cooked pasta, peas and half of the pancetta. Stir, taste and check for seasonings {I added a few pinches of kosher salt}.
  7. Serve up in bowls with a sprinkle of the remaining crispy pancetta.

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22 Responses to “Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. #
    1
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche — February 24, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I love how light and fresh this looks! LOVE leeks 🙂

  2. #
    2
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — February 24, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Pancetta and leeks in macaroni! Hello get-in-mah-belly-right-NOW!
    Delicious girl!

  3. #
    3
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — February 24, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I love this simple meal and all that cheesiness!

  4. #
    4
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — February 24, 2014 at 9:08 am

    LOOKATTHATSAUCE! Holy canoli, this pancetta mac looks amazing! And those big ol macaroni shells? SO cool and pretty! Thanks for the reminder that I need more mac in my life. And now, I shall click on every recipe link and marvel at the macalicious deliciousness. Hope you had a fabulous weekend, lady!

  5. #
    5
    Amy @Very Culinary — February 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I just posted a pasta dish with bacon and peas last week, so needless to say I’m in love with this. Pancetta and leeks FTW!

  6. #
    6
    Sarah — February 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Mmmm pancetta! This creamy nonsense looks amazing!

  7. #
    7
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — February 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Hello, lover!!! This is being made ASAP!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 27th, 2014 @ 12:06 am

      Why… hellllo thur 😉

  8. #
    8
    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — February 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    This just gets better and better! I love the light, creaminess of this M&C! Leeks and pancetta are a killer combo. Pinned!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 27th, 2014 @ 12:06 am

      thank you Gwen!

  9. #
    9
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — February 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Pancetta and cheese = match made in heaven. This sounds incredible!

  10. #
    10
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — February 24, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Leeks and pancetta – yes!!

  11. #
    11
    Happy Valley Chow — February 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    That looks amazing! Totally jealous of you right now 🙂

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  12. #
    12
    Liz@Virtually Homemade — February 25, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Love copious amounts of cheese! This looks amazing – pinned :))

  13. #
    13
    Angie | Big Bear's Wife — February 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Hate you for this?? NO WAY, I LOVE YOU for this! Haha, I love adding peas to my mac and cheese, always have!

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 27th, 2014 @ 12:05 am

      Phewww! So glad 🙂

  14. #
    14
    Joanne Bruno — February 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Somehow that splash of green really does make it seem THAT much better for you! Love these fun mac mix-ins!

  15. #
    15
    JulieD — February 26, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I love that you used cream cheese…been wanting to try that in my mac & cheese. This looks totally amazing!!

  16. #
    16
    Kim Beaulieu — February 26, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Your photos are so pretty. I love that you used leeks, one of my favourite things. I need to try peas in my next batch of mac.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — February 27th, 2014 @ 12:05 am

      Thank you Kim!

  17. #
    17
    Rachel Cooks — February 28, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Everything about this is so perfect. I’m on such a leek kick lately. Thanks for helping us kick off mac and cheese mania!!

  18. #
    18
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — February 28, 2014 at 10:51 am

    This is like my ideal comfort food: carbs and cheese! Give me a spoon!

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