Casseroles/ Kid-Friendly Recipes/ Pasta Dishes

Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions

Macaroni and cheese is made with a creamy white sauce made from three different cheeses and half-and-half, then topped with shredded mozzarella and baked with crispy pancetta and caramelized onions.  Light, creamy and delicious, I promise everyone will be back for seconds!

What better way to surprise our girls when they come home from college and find some good old fashioned comfort food like Mac and Cheese.  I had some pancetta leftover in the fridge and decided to use it with this recipe to give my mac and cheese a little more punch of flavor.  And, it did!

The pancetta added a nice smoky flavor, not too overpowering. While the trio of cheeses I used, mozzarella, mild cheddar and Gruyere gave it a nice mild flavor to this mac and cheese along with the creamy-cheesy texture everyone adores. 

I also added some caramelized onions into the mix to add even more flavor, and used half-n-half instead of heavy cream or butter.  Then I easily mixed everything directly into my casserole dish, and baked in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes.  Then I carefully removed the casserole from oven and topped it with more shredded mozzarella cheese, and baked it for 5 minutes more, until the cheese was completely melted.

Everyone gave me a thumbs up, even my daughter who is a picky eater.  I was so happy it turned out really well!  Best of all, no need to use a mixing bowl, all the ingredients are easily blended into your baking dish, making clean up a little easier.

The best part is taking leftovers (if any) for lunch the next day!  Enjoy!

Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions
  • 1 package (4 ounces) Pancetta-chopped
  • 2 to 3 medium Sweet Onions-chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded Mild Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese -divided
  • 3 ounces Gruyere cheese -minced
  • 1 +1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Spray lightly all sides of a (7 x 11) medium size casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, cook the elbow pasta in boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cook pasta for about 7 minutes until “al dente.” Drain.
Meantime, in a large skillet, cook the pancetta until fully cooked and crispy.
Drain and discard the fat. Transfer to a 7 x 11 baking casserole dish.
In the same skillet add olive oil and sauté the onions for about 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are tender and golden brown. Transfer onions to the baking dish.
Using a wooden spoon, transfer the cooked elbow pasta to the baking dish.  Add 1+1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella (reserve the other 1/2 cup for topping), cheddar cheese, Gruyere cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper.  Pour in the half-and-half.  
Stir and mix everything until well combined. 
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove and stir gently. Top with remaining shredded mozzarella. Bake for additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is completely melted.  Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 6

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  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    August 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Absolutely drooling over this dish! I adore caramelized onions and the addition to this cheesy dish is perfect. Love the cheese combo too!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    This Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions screams comfort food to me. As the weather cools down, my family craves for this kind of meal. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    August 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I must admit I am not a huge fan of mac and cheese. But this one might change my mind. I will definitely tell my daughter about this as she could eat mac and cheese morning, noon and night!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      HI Abbe! Welcome to 2sistersrecipes! Go nice to meet you! My kids too can eat this morning, noon and night! Thanks for stopping by!
      Warmly, Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    Mary Callan
    August 27, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Seconds!!! I'd polish off the lot!! totally delicious – a wonderful sophisicated mac and cheese!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Just got home and have not had dinner yet and your Mac and Cheese looks delicious!! Wish I had some to go along with my dinner! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 18, 2014 at 1:30 am

      Thank you Mike for your sweet comment.

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    September 14, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Oh, how you're making my tummy growl! Perfect fall comfort food and I love the addition of onions and pancetta.

    • Reply
      September 16, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Thank you Sue! Our families adore pancetta which is why you will see it in many of our recipes. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

  • Reply
    Roz Corieri Paige
    September 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Oh I cannot wait to make this recipe . . . I am such a sucker for anything mac and cheese! And with the pancetta — shut the front door you two! Thanks Anna and Liz!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Lol Roz !! We feel the same! Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

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