February 2, 2011
The Lady made a new mac n cheese (something she does a lot… making new mac n cheese recipes) using cheeses she had in the fridge: President Comte (a more-detailed review will be posted later today), Bellwether Farms Carmody and Kirkland Signature Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar. It was divine; these three cheeses complimented and made for a sweet, nutty and complex flavor combination. The Lady is constantly searching for the “Perfect Mac n Cheese” and I must say her journey may have ended right here, with this one… The Man swooned and after my half-share, I had to nap before the fire… of course during the winter my favorite napping place is in front of the fire… but I digress.
Here’s how The Lady made this mac n cheese recipe:
½ Stick Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter
¼ Cup minced sweet onion
1 minced garlic clove
¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ Cup Half and Half
1 ½ Cup 1% Milk
6 ounces President Comte – grated (1 ounce reserved for topping)
6 ounces Bellwether Farms Carmody – grated (1 ounce reserved for topping)
6 ounces Kirkland Signature Cave-Aged Vermont Cheddar – grated (1 ounce reserved for topping)
½ teaspoon Cyprus Flake Artisan Salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ – 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs for topping
8 ounces of penne pasta
Non-stick Spray Oil
Preheat oven to 350°.
Prepare pasta per package instructions. Time to remove from heat when cheese sauce is ready to use. When you drain the pasta, do not rinse. Sauce will stick better to unrinsed pasta.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chipotle pepper flake and sauté lightly just till onion becomes translucent. Whisk in flour and continue whisking for 2 – 3 minutes to cook and release the starchy taste.
Slowly add the half and half and milk, whisking constantly (The Lady used this combination because that’s what she had available – you can use whole milk or your own combination). Cook until the sauce thickens which will be several minutes. Make sure and continue to whisk to avoid lumpy sauce.
When thick, add the cheeses (reserving one ounce of each to top the dish), the salt and the pepper. Stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and stir for a minute more until very creamy.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spraying oil. Add the cooked pasta to the dish and pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. It will look like a lot of cheese sauce but not to worry… the pasta will absorb enough to thicken it slightly.
Mix Panko Breadcrumbs with reserved three cheeses and top the mac n cheese mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven to Broil setting and brown topping until golden brown. Watch it carefully and don’t let it burn.
Remove from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Serve to grateful family. Enjoy.