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! 

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Yield: 6 servings

Creamy Pancetta, Leek and Pea Macaroni & Cheese

My favorite pasta combination turned into a creamy mac-n-cheese!

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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}.
  • Serve up in bowls with a sprinkle of the remaining crispy pancetta.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 653kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Sodium: 735mg, Potassium: 385mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1162IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 441mg, Iron: 2mg

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