Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Feta
Besides Mexican food, I cannot seem to get enough Greek and Mediterranean food. I love it, so I thought I would incorporate it into a decadent and rich mac & cheese. I was actually inspired by a Feta cheese and macaroni gratin that we recently had on vacation that used Feta as the main cheese in the dish. It was so rich, creamy, and delicious that we actually had to go back to the restaurant and order it again.
This is my version all jazzed up with those wonderful Mediterranean flavors that I love. I wanted to make it a little heartier so that we could enjoy it as a meal with a green salad, but could also pair it with a nice New York Strip steak too. Honestly, I think the kids liked this too much! Even my regular mac & cheese loving 2-year-old had seconds. I won’t tell you that my husband went around and ate bites off of everyone’s plate (even after having seconds as well).
Macaroni and Wisconsin Feta with Pancetta, Spinach, & Sun Dried Tomatoes
4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
1/8 cup red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons butter, as needed
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and white pepper to taste
4 ounces (2/3 cup) Wisconsin Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups cooked large elbow macaroni
In a large skillet, sauté pancetta until cooked and fat rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove pancetta from pan and place on plate lined with a paper towel. Add red onion to pan and cook just until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and add to reserved pancetta.
If there is not enough rendered fat to equal about two tablespoons, add enough butter to hot skillet to make up the difference. Add flour. Stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and add milk. Stir well to combine flour mixture and milk. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
Add in Feta slowly, stirring well after each addition. (The smaller the crumbles, the easier it will melt.) Gently stir in spinach, tomatoes, and reserved pancetta and onion. Mix with cooked elbow macaroni.
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Feta, Macaroni & Cheese, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, Wisconsin Cheese
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