“Killer-Diller Mac-n-Cheese”

Sometimes you really need the world’s ultimate comfort food — Mac-n-Cheese. I’ve had several of those  weeks recently — grant applications, an overwhelming amount of work for the dissertation, a book review that’s not done, and immediate family in the ER. So serious comfort food was needed today. For the last few months, on rare occasions, I’ve been working on perfecting an ultimate macaroni-and-cheese recipe. And I’m talking the “I-may-not-be-embarrased-to-show-this-to-Gordon-Ramsay” kind of mac-n-cheese. So here’s my recipe for the latest version. I do everything by look and feel, so there won’t be set amounts in this recipe. WARNING: THIS IS NOT A LOW CARB, LOW FAT, LOW CALORIE, LOW-COST, HEALTHY ENTREE. THIS IS COMFORT FOOD ONLY!!


  • Pasta
    • Pick your favorite pasta and follow the directions to cook it. I rather like rotini rather than the traditional elbow pasta, as it holds even more sauce in it.
    • Make enough pasta to fill up a 9×9 glass pan to about half-way full. That’s probably about 13-14 oz of hard shell pasta.
  • Sauce
    • It’s all about the sauce. Here’s the ingredients I used this time around. I am a big fan of using smoked cheeses in my mac-n-cheese as it ups the richness and decadence just that little bit extra. I used cheese from Trader Joe’s this time around as they always have a very good selection of cheeses, and are not too badly priced. I also use real cream in the recipe. So this is not the cheapest recipe to make, but it does make a full pan.
      • Trader Joe’s Extra Sharp White Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese
      • Trader Joe’s Smoked Dutch Cheese
      • Trader Joe’s Baby Swiss Cheese
      • Trader Joe’s Double Cream Gouda Cheese
      • Kroger’s Heavy Whipping Cream
      • Kroger’s 2% milk
      • Salted Butter
      • Flour
      • Salt
      • Pepper
      • Garlic
      • Paprika (smoked paprika is great if you have it).
  • Prepare the sauce
    • Melt butter in metal sauce-pan on medium-low heat. You don’t want to burn the butter to the pan.
    • Stir in flour to make a roux. (I have a great story about my sister, the fire department, and a roux). Start with a very small amount of flour and keep adding in small amounts until most of the butter is absorbed into the flour until you have a thick-ish, yellow, but smooth sauce. You don’t want to add to much flour otherwise it gets clumpy and won’t dissolve well in the next step.
    • Add heavy whipping cream, a good amount. If the sauce is getting too thick, add some milk (I used 2% this time, but any type of milk will do) until it is the consistency you want. The pot should be about half-way full of cream at this point. Leave room to add in the cheeses.
    • Heat the cream mixture on medium heat until it is quite warm, but you don’t want a heavy boil or any burning on the bottom. Stir constantly.
    • Once the cream is warm, add the cheeses. I didn’t have a particular amount measured, but you are probably going to want between 1-2 cups total of cheeses. The amounts of individual cheeses depends on your preferences. Keep in mind that the cheeses with the strongest flavor have an out-sized impact on flavor to milder cheeses. This time around I used quite a bit of the Smoked Dutch cheese, lesser of the Baby Swiss, and about equal amounts of the Double Cream Gouda and the Extra Sharp cheese. Some of the flavor does cook out in the oven, so I might recommend using a bit more of the extra Sharp or the Double Cream Gouda. You want the sauce to be very cheese-flavorful before you cook it.
    • Add the cheese gradually, in small amounts, stirring constantly until each batch of cheese has melted. Remember to keep the heat on no higher than medium, as you don’t want the mixture to burn to the bottom.
    • Once all the cheese is melted, remove from heat. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and smoked paprika to taste. Remember, you want it quite flavorful as flavors cook out when baked.
    • Put pasta in the glass dish, dump the sauce on top and spread around evenly.
    • Top the pasta with breadcrumbs and shredded cheeses – I did a light mixture of all four cheeses, but pick your favorite.
    • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Add a slight bit of butter on top of the breadcrumbs and broil to brown the breadcrumbs. This was my first time using the broiler to speed the process up, and I broiled it on high for about 3 minutes. It was probably just a tad bit too done. So, perhaps try on broiling on low at 3 minutes to start and increase time until at the desired amount of brown.
    • Remove from oven, and let set for a few minutes.
    • Serve and enjoy!!

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