Once-a-year Macaroni and Cheese

Well, hello there blog-o-sphere!  So, it’s been almost a year since my last post.  There have actually been a lot of cool projects and I do intend to post them at some point.  The wedding was beautiful and we have some fun crafts from that I’ll share.  We got to go to South Korea for the summer, and that was a wonderful experience. Then we bought a house!  Between setting it up and my crazy busy job…well, I haven’t posted in a year.  I’ll be working through some posts over the next few months…

Today, I want to share this ridiculously delicious macaroni and cheese recipe I made.  I didn’t get too many pictures, because I was rushing to get over to a friend’s house with it for Easter lunch, but the taste makes up for the lack of pictures!  It’s a combination of three different recipes I found online: mostly this one from Giada De Laurentiis, the topping from this one from Epicurious, and a few ideas from this recipe from Real Simple.

Giada’s recipe is simple–it’s the only one I saw where you don’t spend a ton of time reducing the cream and milk!  But the egg noodles were a little too non-traditional, as is the ham and the parsley.  The topping for the Epicurious one sounded delicious–but the rest of recipe was a little dull.  The Real Simple one intrigued me with it’s use of Gruyere cheese and cayenne.  My husband puts cayenne on everything, so I thought he might enjoy if I used it in the recipe!

Once-a-year macaroni & cheese

Ingredients

For topping:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For mac and cheese:

  • Butter, for greasing dish
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) grated Fontina
  • 1/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
  • 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
The ingredients--hence why you should probably only eat it once-a-year!

The ingredients–hence why you should probably only eat it once-a-year!  Healthy this ain’t!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
  • Prepare the topping: Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses (1 1/2 c. cheddar, 1/2 c. Parmesan) in a bowl until combined well. Set aside.
  • Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside.
  • Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.
  • Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and Gruyere. Add the noodles and toss to coat.
  • Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Don’t worry if it looks like too much liquid–the noodles will absorb it.
  • Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Guys, this turned out really good!  My husband loves plain old Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but even he really enjoyed it.  His one condition would be to call it “macaroni and cheese casserole.”  Anyway, everyone went back for seconds, so I know it was good!

Delicious!  Just the right amount of gooey-ness, stringy-ness, and crispy-ness.

Delicious! Just the right amount of gooey-ness, stringy-ness, and crispy-ness.

Nutrition:  So…this recipe has 4 different cheeses, whole milk AND heavy cream!  I didn’t call it once-a-year macaroni and cheese for nothing.  These nutrition facts are estimated and based on a 1/15 serving.  You will not eat just one serving! 😛

Mac and Cheese nutritionEnjoy!

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