Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mac-n-Cheese Please!!

When you talk about a classic comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese it at the top of the list. Cheese, noodles and a crunchy top make it a hit with pretty much everyone. It is such a versatile dish that you can do almost anything with from mac-n-cheese with slices of hot dog like you might have had as a kid, to a southwestern flair with green chilies and chicken, to the classic - creamy cheese sauce and noodles. Regardless of how you like to eat it, it is that versatility that makes it one of those dishes that is hard to get tired of.

I am always trying to find the perfect recipe for mac-n-cheese. Though I am always searching one of my favorites so far is with gorgonzola or blue cheese. It adds a nice little kick to the sauce.

Rachel’s Mac-n-Cheese
The trick to this recipe is that if you time it right and make the sauce while the noodles are cooking the dish will already be so hot you won’t have to cook it for longer than about 10-15 minutes this just allows the noodles to soak up the sauce a little and the top to brown.

4 tbs butter
5 tbs flour
2 cups cream
2 ½ cups milk
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs kosher salt
1 ½ pounds plus a half a cup for topping (about 6 cups) sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz container crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese
2 lbs whole wheat corkscrew pasta
Olive oil (for noodles)
Additional Salt and pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Blend ingredients together and set aside.

Grease a 13x9 dip dish baking pan if the dish is too shallow you might have to divide pasta into two pans.

For The Noodles: In large pot bring water to a boil with 1 tbs salt, add noodles and cook until almost done; drain ( Note: noodles will finish cooking in the oven so you want them just a little underdone). When noodles are done, toss with about 2 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and set aside.

For The Sauce: The sauce can be made while the noodles are cooking: In medium saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour, cook for about two minutes stirring frequently. Slowly whisk in cream, milk and all seasonings. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes until mixture starts to thicken; stirring frequently. Add cheese and stir until melted - sauce should be about medium consistency and creamy – if it seems too thick just add a little more cream or milk a 1/4 cup at a time. Pull from heat and blend cheese sauce with noodles. Spread into a deep dish baking pan. Top with remaining cheddar cheese, then top with bread crumb mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes then broil for 2 minutes or until top is golden brown.


pdxfilmcast said...

Mmmm, sounds good. Would you say this is a healthy recipe? I will add it to the list. Thanks Rachel

Rachel Blair said...

Hey there pdxfilmcast! (sorry I don't know your real name:) I would say the majority of my recipes are pretty healthy. This one however is definitley not... I had all the ingredients to make this heavier version and in the past I have had issues with the recipe coming out too dry. This version came out creamy and rich which is what I was going for.
However, if you are wanting to make it a little healthier you can substitute the cream and milk for skim milk, the consistancy in the sauce will just vary a little bit.

pdxfilmcast said...

Thanks! This is Josh Nielsen from

Keep up the good work Rachel!

Rachel Blair said...

Thanks Josh!!! :)