simply satisfying – gourmet Mac and Cheese

cheese1First off…let’s just talk about good cheese in general. There are so many great varieties. Just when you think you’ve tried them all…there’s a new kid on the block (or cheeseboard).  Today I sampled a bunch of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese at Pike Place Market in Seattle.  So good that I decided to do a whole blog dedicated to only cheese….but then decided I’d post a recipe of a gourmet version of Macaroni and Cheese instead.

Making Curd Cheese

You can watch them making Curd Cheese

cheese2

Sometimes you just want a good old Mac’ n Cheese.  This one has a little bite to it and the croutons provide a crispy topping. 

To make croutons – 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, 4 slices white bread, cut into ½ inch squares, kosher salt, 21 seasoning salute (or something similar). In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add bread; stir until golden. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and season with a pinch of salt & seasoning.  Set aside.

cheese5Recipe

Unsalted butter, for greasing pan

2 cups elbow pasta

8 ounces each – Monterey Jack, Cheddar and Manchego (or you can use Colby) cheese, all shredded.

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ tsp. dry mustard

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ sour cream

1 large egg, beaten

¼ cup grated sweet onion

1 ½ cups half & half

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter a 9” x 13” baking dish.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until almost al dente; drain, then return pasta to pot.  In a medium bowl, combine all three cheeses.  Then mix 2/3 of the cheese with pasta.  Set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne, mustard, nutmeg, sour cream, egg, onion and the half & half.  Pour over pasta and mix.

Transfer to baking dish and scatter remaining cheese over top.  Bake uncovered until just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.  Top with croutons and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.  Let sit 15 minutes before serving.  Makes approx. 10 servings.

TIP: you can also use store bought croutons and just crumble them in place of the homemade ones.cheese3Check out our Food Board for more fabulous recipes on PINterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/intrigueimports/foodsavour-taste-flavor-relish-palate-enjoyment/

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