For YEARS I searched and experimented to find the "one" mac and cheese that the family would go crazy over and find it, I did! This recipe is a mix match from so many experiments and is really quite versatile. We mix it up a lot but the basic stays the same.
Some important notes to remember for this one are:
Grate your own cheese! I think most of the "hosts" on food shows (not real chefs, IMO) are always saying, "Take a little help from the store where you can get it." as in, buy pre-shredded cheese. I don't know what it is but I just would rather grate my own.
My personal suggestion and preference is to use a ridged pasta. The ridges help hold onto the cheese sauce. Tonight we had Jumbo Ridged Elbows. If I don't use ridged pasta my next absolute favorite is Ditalini! The sauce really works into the Ditalini and well, it's just cute! It even sounds cute!!
Be sure to spray your casserole with non stick cooking spray or you will have one hell of a touch time getting your mac and cheese out of the dish. Baking time on this varies depending on how "brown" you want your top.
Baked Four Cheese Pasta
- 1 c milk
- 1 c half and half or heavy cream
- 1/4 salted butter
- 1/4 AP flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 ground mustard
- 2 tbs worchestershire sauce
- 8 oz (before cooking) pasta such as ridged ziti, ridged elbow or ditalini
- 2-3 c shredded cheese. Some great suggestions are:
- extra sharp cheddar
- white cheddar
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook your pasta in SALTED water according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking melt butter in saucepan, add in the flour and other dry ingredients. WHISK this mixture for at least 2 minutes. The reason for continually whisking and cooking after it is all incorporated is this process removes the "flour" taste. By the way, congrats - you just made a roux!!!!
After 2 minutes SLOWLY pour in your milk/cream/half and half whisking the entire time to be sure that your roux and liquid is well blended. Once combined you will need to continually whisk for another 6-7 minutes over medium high heat. For my stove that is a setting of about 7. Your mixture will start to thicken and you want a LOW bubbling.
Once you white sauce has thickened start adding in your shredded cheese whisking after each addition. Add the drained pasta and mix well being sure to coat ALL of the pasta and letting it soak into the holes and ridges.
Pour mixture into your prepared casserole dish and bake in preheated 350 oven for a minimum of 30 minutes. I usually bake mine about 45 minutes since we like our top a little more browned.
That's is, guys! The most delicious mac and cheese on the planet! At least for this family. I am sure that some of you may try and skinny this up - if you do and it turns out well let me know. I'll never make skinny bitch mac and cheese but I'll certainly high five you for your effort. ;)
Love ya, mean it, please leave me a comment! I LOVE comments!!!
PS - the title of this post was my attempt at French just to piss my BFF off! Love ya, Z!