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5P Mac & Cheese

I named this recipe 5P Mac & Cheese because it’s made with porcinis, pancetta, Parmesan, pasta and panko.  Serve it with something green and refreshing – a simple arugula salad tossed with a lemon vinaigrette would help cleanse the palate.

5P Mac and Cheese

5P Mac & Cheese

Total Time: 70 minutes

5P Mac & Cheese


4 cups milk
1 pkg (14 g) dried porcini mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons butter + extra for buttering dish
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
500 g penne pasta
½ cup chopped pancetta (about 140g)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
½ cup panko


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat. Lightly butter a 9 by 13-inch oven-proof baking dish, set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat milk and dried mushrooms over low heat until mushrooms have softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer into a bowl and set aside. Clean saucepan.
  3. In cleaned saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add flour; cook and stir until mixture becomes bubbly and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk in milk mixture, whisking often until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes – it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.
  5. To boiling water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and pasta; cook until just tender, about 1 minute less than the package instructs. Drain pasta and place back in pot. Add Parmesan cheese sauce, pancetta, and Gruyere cheese. Stir and taste. Season with salt (usually about 1 tsp) and pepper.
  6. Pour pasta mixture into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with panko and bake uncovered for 30 – 40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

5P Mac & Cheese Tips:

  • When you think the pasta is almost done, drain it – the pasta will continue to cook in the oven. I usually set a timer for a minute less than what the package instructs.
  • Substitutions:
    • Any type of dried mushrooms for porcini mushrooms
    • Prosciutto, kielbasa or cooked bacon for pancetta
    • Any type of pasta for penne
    • Bread crumbs for panko