Friday, February 3, 2012
Friday Food Craft: Mac N Cheese
Few things are better in the cold rainy weather than creamy, bubbly Mac N Cheese. Even though our weather here has turned surprisingly sunny (albeit still a bit chilly) I had a craving for this tasty treat and decided to set about making an amazing batch. While I did bake it to finish this off, I stand behind the opinion that this cheese sauce would be fantastic for a non baked Mac N Cheese as well. Even further, I'd recommend this cheese sauce as a fondue, or even mixed with chili or salsa at your Super Bowl party on Sunday!
To make this scrumptious Mac N Cheese you will need:
16 oz pasta of choice (I like to use something fancy like Fusili or Radiatore)
2 Tablespoons Butter, plus more for ramekins
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Whole Milk
2 cups grated Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup grated Fontina
1 oz. Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Tapatio Hot Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
Grana Padano cheese (or other hard cheese), grated
To start, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add a generous amount of kosher salt. Add pasta and cook as package directs.
Butter 6 ramekins.
While the noodles are cooking, heat butter over medium low heat. Add flour and stir constantly for a minute. Increase the heat to med-high and pour in the milk and cream. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and add in cream cheese, cheddar and fontina. Once the cheese has melted, add the hot sauce, mustard, nutmeg (this is my super secret ingredient -not anymore!- but it really does make a tasty difference!) and season with salt and pepper. Add the drained noodles to the cheese sauce, stir and evenly distribute the mac and cheese into prepared ramekins. Grate fresh Grana Padano over top and bake (on a sheet tray) in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
To make this dish a little more affordable, I always buy my cheese in blocks and grate it myself. Also, if you are going to try out my super secret nutmeg, do yourself a favor and grate your own whole nutmeg with a microplane, the pre-ground stuff just isn't the same.
Recipe inspired by Simply Scratch