BY MARIE LODI
If you’ve got a ton of holiday get-togethers on the docket in the coming weeks and need some culinary inspiration, look no further than Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen, a new cannabis cookbook by Stephanie Hua and Coreen Carroll that's full of festive cannabis recipes. Whether you’re cooking up a feast for guests or want to bring something truly interesting to that Christmas potluck, a cannabis-packed dish is an exciting upgrade of the usual casserole. Check out the below recipe for delectable Fried Mac and Cheese Bites, which are three-cheese morsels studded with pancetta, which is just one of many delicious, approachable ideas for cooking with cannabis that you’ll find in the book.
Kitchen Cooking time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Inactive time: 3 hours
Makes: 16 2-by-2-in bites
4 oz. finely diced pancetta
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta cooking water
7 oz. elbow macaroni
3 & 3⁄4 tsp. Canna Butter
2 Tbsp. finely diced onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup & 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 & 1⁄2 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
4 oz. shredded fontina cheese
1 & 3⁄4 oz. shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 qt. canola oil
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup water
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Spray an 8” x 8” pan with nonstick baking spray and set aside.In a small skillet over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta for about 5 minutes until tender and just slightly crisp. Remove 2 Tbsp. of the rendered fat and set aside; if you are short, add enough vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil to equal 2 Tbsp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and set aside. Discard any remaining fat.
Bring a medium pot of salted water (it should taste like the sea) to a boil over high heat. Cook the macaroni for about 7 minutes until al dente. Drain and shock the pasta under cold running water.
Return the pot to medium heat and combine the reserved pancetta fat, Canna Butter, onion, and garlic in it. Cook, stirring, until the canna butter melts. Whisk in 3 Tbsp. of flour. Cook, whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is lightly browned.
While whisking to prevent lumps from forming, slowly drizzle in the milk. Add the 2 tsp. salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook for about 6 minutes until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble.
Adjust the heat to medium-low and whisk in the gorgonzola until mostly dissolved. Add the fontina, whisking until it melts and combines into the sauce. Add the mozzarella and whisk until melted and well combined. Add the pasta and pancetta to the sauce and stir well to combine.
Pour the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking pan, making sure to scrape out as much sauce as you can using a rubber spatula. Smooth the top, making sure you get the macaroni evenly into the corners of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or, ideally, overnight.
In a medium pot or deep fryer, heat the canola oil to 340°F. Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer clipped to the pot (if using), or drop in a few bread crumbs. If they bubble and start to brown quickly, the oil is ready. Do not let the oil get so hot that it starts smoking. Meanwhile, prepare your dredging station.
Line up three medium bowls: Put the remaining 1 cup flour in the first bowl; beat together the eggs and water in the second; put the bread crumbs in the third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the mac and cheese from the refrigerator. Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan and cut the mac into sixteen equal 2-by-2-in [5-by-5-cm] squares. Using a spatula or fork, remove the squares from the pan and set them aside on the prepared baking sheet. Roll each macaroni square in the flour, dusting off any excess. Dredge the floured square in the egg mixture and drop it in the bread crumbs, making sure it gets a full coat of crumbs. Use one hand for flouring and the other for egging, so you don't end up breading your fingers. Place the coated square back on the baking sheet. Repeat to coat all squares.
Place a metal rack over a sheet pan and set aside. Using a large slotted metal spoon or mesh skimmer, lower a few coated pieces at a time into the hot oil. You want to work in small batches so as not to crowd the pot or drop the oil temperature too drastically. Deep-fry the bites for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown and crispy on the outside, and hot and gooey on the inside. Transfer to a wire rack while you fry the remaining squares. Enjoy while they’re still warm! Still hungry? Check out how to make Green Eggs and Ham from Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen, and pick up the book to brush up on even more marijuana recipes.