Monday, June 6, 2011

Five Cheese Baked Mac N Cheese

After the last baked mac n cheese, my husband has been craving baked mac n cheese. He used to never ask for it. But he has lately. So when I went grocery shopping with him I asked him if he wanted it on the menu this week. He said "Sure! What do you need?" So, needlessly to say, we picked cheeses we thought would be tasty in a baked mac n cheese. A small block of white sharp cheddar, and some gruyere. I already had at the house some Asiago, and Romano. It was originally going to be just the four cheeses. Then I decided at the last minute that it would be a nice touch to add some mozzarella cheese on top of the dish. So that is how we got the 5 cheese mac n cheese. This is a pretty typical (at least I think so) baked mac n cheese recipe.  I did not look at any recipe for this. I just kept thinking... what would taste good and then I just went with the flow. I know it's kind of dangerous to do that, but I like living on the edge. Can you tell?

This dish I think would have to be my favorite Baked Mac N Cheese I've ever had. And that's saying something. It is flavorful without being too salty or too bland. This is the perfect Baked Mac N Cheese.

4 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar (white)
2 cups shredded gruyere
1 cup asiago shredded
1 cup romano shredded
1 Tbsp pesto
1/2 tsp white pepper
8-9 cups of milk
3 cups half n half
1 box elbow macaroni (I used quick cook)
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp garlic paste
4 Tbsp butter
4-5 heaping tsp flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs (to sprinkle on top)
1 cup mozzarella cheese (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 13X9 baking dish by spraying all sides and bottom generously with non stick cooking spray, or lining with foil sprayed with non stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl shred all cheeses and set aside.

In a large pot place water on to boil to prepare pasta according to package directions (cook to al dente).

In a medium sauce pan, place the onions, butter, and garlic paste. Cook until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally to incorporate all ingredients. Then add the flour and stir until slightly golden color, the flour and butter will combine to make a think paste like consistency. Gradually whisk in the milk, and half n half. This will be a thin consistency until the milk heats enough to thicken the mixture. Add the pepper and pesto. Stir/whisk constantly until thicken. Add pasta to boiling pot of water (Do not add any salt to the water) and cook to al dente.

In a small bowl beat the eggs and gradually add some of the milk mixture to the eggs while consistently beating them together. This will temper the eggs so they won't cook separately in the sauce. Once they are tempered, pour the egg mixture into the rest of the milk mixture, stirring to incorporate. Then while still on the heat, add the cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted.

By now the noodles should have been completely cooked (leave slightly al dente) and drained. (DO NOT RINSE PASTA) Turn the heat off under the cheese sauce. Add cheese sauce to the pasta. Pour pasta/cheese sauce mixture into a prepared (Sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) 13X9 baking dish.

Place baking dish in a 350F oven for 25 minutes, then turn heat up to 425F. Sprinkle the pasta dish with the italian bread crumbs and mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until sides are browned and cheese is bubbly.

Serve hot/warm.

my leftovers :) lunch tomorrow

My favorite dish! My husband agrees that this is the best baked mac n cheese. He had two helpings, I had two helpings, even two of my kids had seconds. I have enough for a little leftover but not much. It will feed a ton. This is good as a dish for a potluck, dinner by its self or served as a side dish. If you use this mixture of cheeses this will be a small slice of heaven.

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