Not your average mac & cheese
When I think about Thanksgiving, I think about comfort food. When I think about comfort food, I think about Mac & Cheese. So it only made sense to have Mac & Cheese be the dish that kicks off our month of Thanksgiving recipes.
Mac & Cheese has been a staple in my life for longer than I can remember. It may be my favorite food. Whenever I see it on the menu at a restaurant I order it immediately without thinking twice.
I really just appreciate the simplicity of pasta, cheese, butter, and milk, and how wonderful all of these things are when you thrown them into a pot.
I don't mind it plain or with bacon, and I cannot deny the importance of a lobster mac in our lives.
This is a recipe I've been making for years. Every time, trying to make it better than the last. Playing with the type of cheeses I use, the noodles, or the spices. I wanted to create the Mac & Cheese that dreams are made of. And trust me, this is it! We start with a traditional french béchamel sauce, which is just equal parts butter and flour, milk, salt, and nutmeg. Followed by four different kinds of cheese, each of them adding an important element to the flavor and texture. Topped off with a bit of heat to round out the richness of all of the cheese, butter, and milk.
🏷 Time: 1 hours
1TBSP Dried Thyme
5c Whole Milk
1/2c AP Flour
2tsp Kosher Salt
1/2tsp Garlic Powder
1/4tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
2c Shredded Sharp White Cheddar
1c Shredded Sharp Yellow Cheddar
1c Shredded Asiago Cheese
2c Shredded Gruyere
1lb Macaroni Noodles
3/4c Panko or Homemade Breadcrumbs
Parsley for garnish
Heat oven to 375°
Butter a 9x13 casserole dish
Fill a large pot with water, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bring to a boil
Once at a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente. NOTE: we will be baking at a later step, so we don't want to overcook the pasta now and have it turn into mush later
In a small bowl, add bread crumbs, ½ cup of white cheddar, and ½ cup of yellow cheddar. Mix and set aside
Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add thyme and bloom
Once the thyme becomes aromatic, add flour. Cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes
Whisk in the milk ½ cup at a time. The consistency should be smooth and thick.
Turn off the heat and add garlic, nutmeg, pepper, cayenne pepper, and remaining cheese
Stir until completely combined. The cheese should melt into the sauce nicely and should continue to be smooth and thick. If it gets clumpy, continue to whisk over low heat
Add pasta to cheese sauce, mix, and pour into baking dish
Top with breadcrumb and cheese mixture, and bake until the top is browned it is bubbling slightly, about 30 minutes.
Garnish with chopped parsley