The best Mac & Cheese ever

I love Mac and Cheese. Like seriously love it. Growing up I ate an insane amount of Kraft Mac & Cheese. It was pretty much the only thing I knew how to make. I loved that orange goodness. Since then, I’ve learned to make my own mac & cheese. I still have the Kraft once every year or two, but making my own has become my preferred method. It’s so easy, and can be ready in just a few minutes. Perfect for post work dinner.

What set this recipe apart from the others I’ve used is the addition of an alpine style cheese. The nuttiness of the cheese was the perfect compliment to the cheddar I always use. It really ¬†brought the whole dish together, and elevated it from “this mac and cheese is pretty great” to “holy hell that is amazing”.

This recipe came about as it was chilly outside and I didn’t feel like being creative. Sadly, that means no photos. I need to learn to take more photos when I cook. Most of the time, dinner is a last minute decision and I’m rushing to get it ready. 8-9 hours of work plus a 50 minute drive home mean that I’m generally starving and tired, and just want to eat and drink a beer. I wasn’t expecting anything special from this mac & cheese, but ohhh boy was I wrong.

The most complicated part of this recipe is making the roux, which really isn’t all that hard. A roux is just flour and fat mixed together and used to thicken sauces. The fat used here is butter. Making the roux allows for the flour to be incorporated in to the sauce without it getting lumpy, and cooking the flour/butter mixture for a few minutes brings out more of a nutty flavor, and leaves behind the flour-y flavor.

Mac & Cheese
Difficulty: Easy

Equipment

  • Nothing special, just two pots and a cheese grater

Ingredients

  • 16oz pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder or dried mustard powder
  • 2 cups milk (I use whole)
  • 1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded (or cubed) alpine cheese

Steps

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk to incorporate. Continuing whisking for a minute or two to cook the flour.
  3. Add in the milk. Whisk some more. The roux will thicken as it cooks. Continue to whisk as needed.
  4. Add in both styles of cheese along with the chili powder/dried mustard powder. Stir everything together. Reduce the heat and allow the cheese to melt. The cheddar should melt quickly, the alpine might need a few more minutes.
  5. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cheese sauce.
  6. Stir everything together. Serve hot.

Notes

  • You can be creative and add many different types of cheese. I’ve added parmesan and mozzarella. But the alpine really stole the show.
  • This reheats beautifully for lunch the next day while you are at work.

 

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