Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara

Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4 to 8

“I take my mac and cheese game pretty seriously,” says award-winning chef Bobby Flay. “Most people’s childhood memories of this dish start and end with elbows and one kind of cheese, typically cheddar or Colby. (And that’s if it didn’t come from a box!)” This version is decidedly more upscale, full of pancetta, garlic and parsley in a rich five-cheese sauce.


  • Unsalted butter for the baking dish
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice pancetta, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, cut into small dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups (40 fl. oz./1.25 l) milk, or more if needed, hot
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly whisked
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) grated Asiago cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) grated Irish white cheddar, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) grated American cheddar, plus more for the top
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) grated aged fontina cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. (500 g) elbow macaroni, cooked just under al dente
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  • Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-by-10-by-2-inch (25-by-25-by-5-cm) baking dish or an ovenproof 10-inch (25-cm) sauté pan. Set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
  • Add the garlic to the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, increase the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks until incorporated and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the thyme, cayenne and all the different cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and black pepper. If the mixture appears too thick, add additional warm milk 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) at a time.
  • Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, reserved pancetta and the parsley and stir until combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Combine an additional 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) each of the Asiago, cheddars, fontina and Parmesan in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake until the dish is heated through and the top is light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 8.
  • Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Throwdown! More than 100 Recipes from Food Network’s Ultimate Cooking Challenge by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Miriam Garron (Clarkson Potter, 2010)

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