Exploring the Kitchen – Cast Iron Mac

Exploring the Kitchen – Cast Iron Mac

Okay, as I’ve mentioned before it’s not hard to go wrong with the cheesy comfort of Mac & Cheese. But why not kick it up a bit and give a baked version of it a little bit extra by adding in some bacon (or prosciutto in this case) and make it extra crispy by baking it in cast iron? It makes for a good, quick, enjoyable evening meal. Sadly Heather and I didn’t find this one as creamy as our slow-cooker Mac & Cheese, maybe next time increase the amount of cheese sauce.

Ingredients

  • Elbow Macaroni ~300g
  • Prosciutto or bacon ~8oz
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 8oz of cheese, any cheese of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Peper Flakes (Optional)

You will need a cast iron skillet for this recipe, I have one and need to start using it more, despite the increased care and feeding for these they are worth the effort. Best to buy one that’s pre-seasoned just to get you going a lot quicker.

Directions
To determine how much macaroni you’ll need to use, pour the dry pasta into the skillet, allow it to fill up halfway. Then cook according to the package instructions. In my case, I used the Barilla brand which makes it easy to cook for 10 minutes without boiling or draining the pasta. Once done, set aside in a separate bowl.

Cut the Prosciutto (or bacon) into 1/4 inch cubes and cook in the skillet over medium-high heat. Allow them to get crispy and brown. Once done set aside in a separate dish. Do not clean out the skillet, set aside for now. You’ll need it later.

Start preheating the oven to 400F at this point. Get the flour, butter, milk, and cheese set out and ready because it’s time to make the sauce.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and flour over medium heat constantly whisking until the roux is light brown. Now slowly add in the milk, continuing to whisk. Once smooth turn down the heat to low and add in the cheese. Keep up the whisking until cheese melts, and the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Now add the prosciutto (or bacon) along with the macaroni. And if you want an extra kick add in the red pepper flakes, once everything is nicely combined, put the mixture into the cast iron skillet. Top with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes at 400F. Once done allow cooling for 10 minutes before serving!

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