Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Cheesiest Mac and Cheese

I'll admit it. I'm a cheese head. No, not the football team kind! I love all cheeses, expensive imported and mediocre domestic, (although we don't have very many specialty or imported good cheeses in the stores where we live here in N.C). Yes, I even like that yellow box (in the picture below) that most everyone has had in their house at one time or another. I grew up with that cheese in the refrigertor right next to the mayo that was actually called dressing. Yes, Velveeta and Miracle Whip were always found in America's kitchens back when I was growing up.
Just so you know how much I love cheese; I would venture to say I could probably love beef liver (yuk) if it were covered in cheese. Or maybe not, however you get the idea. So this recipe is my venture into the cheesiest Mac and Cheese, ever. This will be being served on the 4th of July this year along with some nicely grilled steaks and a nice big garden salad.

For the cheese sauce you will need: half and half, all purpose flour, butter, and your choice of cheese(s). I used cream cheese, velveeta, cheddar, parmesan, and asiago.
I did forget to put the cayenne pepper and dry mustard  in this picture, though I didn't leave it out of the recipe.

Start out by making a bechamel sauce. Also known as a white sauce. To this you will add your cheeses, one type at a time, stirring to incorporate it into your sauce. Thus transforming the white sauce into a cheese sauce.

Combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce together. Pour into baking dish and top with more shredded cheese.

Creamy, cheesy heavenly macaroni and cheese.

We're linking this up to:

Happy Independance Day

Creamy 5 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Courtesy of Recipe Addict

8 ounces (1/2 lb.) elbow macaroni or pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp AP (all purpose) flour
2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard (Colemans)
8 ounces (2 cups) cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed (room temperature)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup asiago cheese, shredded

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and put into a large mixing bowl.Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, mix the shredded cheddar, parmesan, and asiago cheeses. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm half and half. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Stir for a minute or two in order to cook out the "raw flour" taste, and don't let the roux turn brown. You'll want it to stay white or a light cream color. Add the warm half and half a little at a time and stir until the sauce thickens. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and dry mustard, stirring another minute to incorporate into sauce. Add the cubed Velveeta and cream cheese and stir until melted, then add in 3/4 of the shredded cheese mixture. Continue stirring until all the cheeses are melted. 
Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta and mix thoroughly. Pour into an 8 x 8 (or close appropriate sized) casserole dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 15 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Serves 4-6

My Cheesiest Mac and Cheese

The creamiest, cheesiest, heavenly macaroni and cheese.

See My Cheesiest Mac and Cheese on Key Ingredient.

My Cheesiest Mac and Cheese on Foodista
Carla and Michael