Monday, February 20, 2012

Mac and Cheese

I've used the same mac and cheese recipe for some years now and every time I make it I am underwhelmed. It just isn't creamy enough and doesn't have enough of a sharp cheesy bite. It was time for a change. I tweaked my recipe by adding cream cheese for added creaminess and changed the kinds of cheese to give a better cheese taste. So this is my new and improved recipe (not that I ever posted my old one) and I am pretty happy with it!

The Recipe:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni noodles
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup cream cheese (equals an 8 oz. package)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional topping: 2 cups plain breadcrumbs, 3 Tbl. melted butter

The Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions, set aside.
  3. Melt butter on low, add flour and keep moving with whisk for about 5 minutes. (This makes a pasty 'roux' that helps thicken the sauce.)
  4. Slowly add milk, cream and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes until it thickens a bit.
  5. Add cream cheese, cheddar and asiago (reserving some cheddar and asiago for the top). Heat on low, stirring until all the cheeses melt.
  6. Stir in pasta.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste (I ended up using quite a bit of salt so make sure to taste).
  8. Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with the extra cheddar and asiago cheeses.
  9. If you are adding the topping, mix melted butter with breadcrumbs, spoon over the top of the mac and cheese and spread evenly.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

I love this recipe! But that doesn't mean that I won't continue to tweak it a little, maybe trying different cheeses just for fun. Speaking of, Trader Joe's is a great place to get some of those 'fancier' cheeses for cheaper.

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