Mac and cheese is not a dish I make very often. As in, I’ve made it no more than half-a-dozen times. I’ve never been happy with any of the recipes I’ve tried.
For this past Thanksgiving, I reviewed several recipe sites. I consulted soul food experts at work and came up with my own concoction.
Here is the mac and cheese before going into the oven. Warning, this isn’t exactly a ‘healthy’ dish with a whole stick of butter in the recipe. So creamy looking, I could have eaten it up just like this.
After sitting in a toasty oven, the mac and cheese got a little more texture, a little more complexity to the taste. Equally good.
My nephew, who is notoriously picky, loved my mac and cheese. So did his brother. So did D and S.
You don’t have to use the same mixture of cheese that I did. You can use all cheddar, add more Monterey, skip the Parmigiano, add mozzarella instead of Monterey… it’s pretty flexible.
You can also skip the eggs and use more milk. I decided to try the eggs here because my co-worker’s recipe called for it and she tells me that her mac and cheese it to-die-for.
I used Barilla’s Cellantani pasta or more commonly known as cavatappi pasta because I like how the double spiral gives the dish more texture. By all means, use macaroni instead or any favorite pasta of your choice.
This dish can be made ahead of time.
Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 45 mins
1 pound pasta
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
4 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup Monterey Jack
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and pre-heat the oven to 350° F if baking right away. When the water starts to boil, add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al denté. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Meantime, in a small pot, melt butter on medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Add milk and whisk. Lower the heat. Add cheese, egg, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add more milk if the cheese mixture is too thick.
In a large (9×11) baking dish, place cooked pasta and pour in the cheese mixture. Bake for 20 or until the top starts browning. Serve while hot.