Gourmet Mac N Cheese

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Recipe


Often, it's hard to tell where the inspiration for a particular dish will come from -- for this version, the inspiration was to use up the cheese we were bringing back from camping.



Yes. I was SO proud of my "conceptual" packing job of the cheese for it to have kept perfectly after 5 days in a Yeti cooler after a Kings Canyon Camping Trip. We always do a cheese board (fancy, I know) one afternoon for lunch to take to the river. Speaking of cheese board, here is one I put together that was very satisfying...sorry, I digress...so this year, I went overboard on the cheese and had a whole bar of Havarti and another bar of white cheddar gruyere left over. In addition, there were Pepperjack slices leftover from the turkey sandwiches. So to preserve it all, I wrapped the open cheese back in it's plastic wrapper, then wrapped it with a paper towel (the secret trick in keeping moisture at bay and hence mold!) and then in a ziplock bag. Without the paper towel wrapping, inevitably the cheese sweats, producing moisture and then -- mold.


Like, I said, I bought a LOT of cheese and I was REALY happy with the way they all came together for this gourmet mac n cheese. It definitely gave my standard mac n cheese with a generic shredded combo of cheddar, mozzarella etc. a new life. The pepperjack was in slices so 5 slices -- of size 2 thickness because that's my usual at Boar's Head -- which is approximately one cup of shredded cheese.



To make the cheese sauce, the base was essentially a Beshamel sauce to which I added the cheese and cooked pasta.


The trick to making bechamel sauce without curdling the milk is to take a little bit of the milk and mix it in with the butter and flour mixture, making a thick base, like in the video above. Once this base is in place then continue to add milk in half cups or so till all the milk is integrated.



Then, it's just a waiting and stirring game till the milk base or white sauce thickens up. Once it thickens to a "ploppable" (check out the video above), turn off the burner, add the cheese, but keep the pan on the burner for heat. Once the cheese melts, add in the pasta and coat well with the cheese sauce, bake, and serve (with salad, if that's you thing, or maybe



Honestly. It's SO quick and SO easy. Turn on the oven. Get the pasta water boiling and make the pasta. Start make the cheese sauce right after draining the pasta. After mixing in the pasta, put the Mac n Cheese in a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes minutes. This gives you just enough time to put together a quick "Kid Proof" Garden Salad or make the kids do it. Another option that we go with is this super easy stir fried broccoli.


INGREDIENTS:

1 bag pasta, we prefer fussili because of the grooves

1 cup shredded havarti

1 cup shredded white cheddar gruyere (Trader Joe's carries one that I like)

1 cup shredded pepper jack

3 tbs flour

3 tbs butter

3 cups room temperature milk (I used 2%)

salt for salting the water


PROCESS:

  1. Turn on the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Get the pasta water boiling, add 2 tsp salt and make the pasta according to the package.

  3. Drain pasta.

  4. Start make the cheese sauce right after draining the pasta.

  5. Melt the butter in a 4-6 quart saucepan.

  6. Add in the flour, mix and stir for about 2. minutes on medium high. I like to use an egg beater.

  7. Once the flour is slightly browned, take about 1.2 cup of milk and pour in slowly while whisking with egg beater. See video for reference if needed. Once that is incorporated, continue to add milk in half cup batches till all the milk is incorporated. continue to stir the milk till it thickens (see video for the consistency).

  8. Turn off heat.

  9. Add in the cheese and mix it in till it melts.

  10. Oil a glass baking dish - either with spray or by using a cooking brush and oil.

  11. Transfer pasta from the strainer to the baking dish.

  12. Pour in the cheese sauce and mix well with the pasta.

  13. After mixing in the pasta, put the Mac n Cheese in a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes minutes.

  14. If you have time, put together a quick "Kid Proof" Garden Salad or make the kids do it. Another option that we go with is this super easy stir fried broccoli.

  15. Or enjoy with your favorite side.

  16. Or, as is.


Please email me at lovecookyoga@gmail.com if anything is unclear or if you have any questions. If you try this recipe and it works for you or made modifications, please leave a comment to let the community know.


Thanks!






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