Main Dish

Pancetta Mac ’n’ Cheese

Colagrossi Wines

7755 Bell Road
Windsor, CA 95492

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2013
  • RECIPE BY: Jennifer McMurry, Viola Pastry Boutique and Café
  • YIELD: Serves 4
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Colagrossi Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

America’s beloved mac 'n' cheese has its roots in Italy, where macaroni pasta originated. Chef Jennifer McMurry gives the dish more gusto di Italia by adding pancetta, the Italian version of bacon. Pancetta is pork belly that has been cured, not smoked like bacon, and infused with dried herbs, pepper and other spices. It adds zing to the dish and its porky flavor ties nicely with Pinot Noir.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound macaroni
  • 1/2 cup chopped pancetta
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 cup grated Estero Gold cheese


In a large fry pan, melt the butter, then stir in the flour. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you go; add only a small amount of milk at a time, making sure that it is completely incorporated before adding more. Cook the béchamel sauce over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Stir in the salt, white pepper and nutmeg, then remove from the heat.

Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy and the fat has rendered. Add the bread crumbs to the pan and stir to combine with the pancetta.

Drain the macaroni and add to the fry pan with the warm béchamel sauce. Add the Monterey jack and Estero Gold and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni mixture to a serving dish and crumble the bread crumb-pancetta mixture over the top. Serve immediately.

Colagrossi Wines

7755 Bell Road
Windsor, CA 95492