I'm still in Philly visiting family. While here it has been nice to not be head chef, but rather sous chef. My sister made this delicious baked Mac and Cheese, and I convinced her to write a post about it (she is a more eloquent writer than I am). This stuff is amazing and, as a bonus, it's low oxalate. The spiciness takes this mac and cheese to a whole new level. I can't wait to make it for Mr.Surly
Homemade macaroni and cheese can be spiced up: it’s fun to experiment with different pasta shapes and various cheeses. We like to add a little “kick” to our mac-n-cheese by using buffalo-wing cheese (if you have a hard time tracking down buffalo-wing cheese, you can just add a few teaspoons (or tablespoons, depending how spicy you like it) of wing sauce. I also like using different cheeses: asiago, romano, fontina, etc. The proportions of cheese aren’t important – you could use all cheddar cheese, or 1 pound of cheddar with ½ pound of fontina; it’s totally up to your preference.
It’s also fun to experiment with various pasta shapes: gemelli, fusilli, farfalline, vermiglioni, ruote, are the types I’ve tried.
Baked Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
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1 pound shaped pasta or elbow macaroni
6 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
1.5 pounds shredded cheese
(this time I used ½ pound gruyere, ½ pound super-sharp cheddar, ½ pound buffalo-wing cheddar cheese* (if you can’t find buffalo wing cheese, you can use another ½ pound of cheddar and add buffalo-wing or hot sauce to taste))
approx 1-2 cups bread crumbs (panko work nicely – it’s also good to buy the seasoned bread crumbs)
Follow the instructions on package to cook pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Whisk until a roux forms. (A good way to judge is by smell—it should smell toasty and not buttery) Add cold milk; vigorously whisk until dissolved. On medium-low heat, cook until thick and bubbly (this can take up to about 15 minutes). Whisk in heavy cream. Stir in all cheeses, salt, pepper and cook until cheeses are fully melted. Stir occasionally.
Stir in the pasta to the cheese mixture. Place in a 13X9 baking dish (or 2 smaller baking dishes if you are planning on freezing some) and top with bread crumbs.
At this point, you can cover in foil and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. But, if you’re ready to go, then bake at 325 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. (If baking from the refrigerator, then I usually do 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees).
Source: inspired by/heavily adapted from Food Network