Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
I’m back! And with a delicious new recipe that is just perfect for that upcoming, super fun-in-the-sun holiday. What is more American than Mac n Cheese? It’s easily served with burgers, chicken, ribs…you name it! And our founders would most certainly approve of the recipe I have for you today.
So this recipe is made with one of my new favorite cheeses, Kerry Gold reserve cheddar. You can find it in the cheese section of any grocery store…not the section by the milk and butter, but the one that has the fancy, intimidating selection of cheeses. You’ll thank me later for directing you to a cooking gold mine. In any case, this cheese is creamy and has some serious bite. Which is a perfect combination for Mac n Cheese. A lot of recipes call for copious quantities of butter, so I tried to make a healthier version. That said, I still consider this a “holiday” recipe as it has a ton of cheese in it. Mmmm cheese.
10 oz pasta shells or rotini
1 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 T flour, sifted
3/4 C skim milk
2 1/2 C Kerry Gold Reserve Cheddar cheese, reserve 1/2 C
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp ground mustard
1 T Herbes de Provence
1 T salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 C bread crumbs
1. Cook pasta according to directions in package, except stop cooking and drain about one minute ahead of time. The pasta will be cooked, but firm. This will prevent it from becoming soggy when you cook the dish in the oven.
2. In a medium pan, melt better on medium heat. Then sprinkle flour and whisk in completely for at least a minute. A paste should form – allow it to cook on medium-low heat until it thickens, for up to five minutes. In the meantime, whisk egg in a separate dish. Now is also a good time to preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
3. Once the paste has thickened, scoop about a teaspoon of it and whisk it into the bowl with the egg. Then add the mixture back into the pan. Whisk immediately so that the egg does not cook.
4. Add milk and spices to the pan, and turn heat to low. Allow to cook for a few minutes. Then add all but 1/2 C cheese, whisking for a couple more minutes. The sauce will be a little lumpy – don’t worry those lumps will melt into cheesy bites when the dish cooks in the oven.
5. Pour the pasta into a basking dish, then pour the cheese mixture in. Sprinkle half the bread crumbs into the mixture, then stir to incorporate everything. In a small bowl, mix remaining cheese and bread crumbs together. Sprinkle on top of dish.
6. Cover the dish with tin foil and cook for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook until cheese is melted. After that, turn your oven setting to broil and harden the cheese on top. You know how I love my boiler! It makes the dish that much more delicious and appealing.
That’s it! A fantastic, healthier option for a patriotic side dish. So enjoy the parade, eat a little too much apple pie, and set off some fireworks. Actually, skip that last one. I may only be your lawyer in the kitchen, but I’d advise you to stick with sparklers…