Italian Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound short cut pasta of your choice (I like shells)
1 cup diced pancetta
½ cup chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic minced
½ cup roasted red peppers peppers, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1 cup shredded sharp provolone cheese
½ cup pecorino romano cheese grated (separated)
¼ cup shredded fresh basil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high, saute the pancetta until crisped and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers and onion. Continue to cook until the onion is very tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Then add garlic and cook several minutes more until fragrant. Be very careful not to burn the garlic as it will become bitter. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the flour and stir to coat well.
Pour in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the cream,and return to boil continuing to stir. Cook until thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the fontina, provolone,and ½ of the pecorino romano. Stir well until all of the cheese has melted. Stir in the basil and the cooked pasta. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or buttered if you prefer). Sprinkle with remaining pecorino romano and bake uncovered until cheese on top is melted and slightly golden. Serve hot and bubbly from the oven with a tossed salad and some garlic bread.