Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Garlic

6 Oct

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese?  The mixture of cheeses in this was perfectly decadent without being overwhelming, and complimented perfectly by the sweet, smokey flavor of the roasted garlic.  The light heat from the crushed red pepper flakes and the paprika in the bread crumbs was a nice foil to the richness of the gouda.  The final product had the perfect amount of cheese, in my opinion, but if you like a REALLY creamy macaroni and cheese, increase the amount of milk, cheeses, and water-flour mixture proportionately.  Finally, I often make a lightened-up version of this dish by substituting chicken stock for the milk.  It’s extremely delicious, too, so if you’re really counting calories I recommend you try it out.

Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Garlic

Makes about 6 servings

1 box elbow pasta, cooked al dente

1 1/2 cups very sharp cheddar, shredded

1 cup Gruyère, shredded

3/4 cup gouda, shredded

1 1/2 cups 2% milk

4-5 cloves roasted garlic, smashed well with fork

3 tbs. all natural, whole wheat flour plus 5 tbs. water

1/2 cup Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2-3 tsps. dried parsley

Freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine three types of cheeses, crushed red pepper flakes, dried parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.  Set aside.

Combine panko breadcrumbs, paprika, and freshly cracked black pepper.

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat milk until just beginning to boil.  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and water until thoroughly combined.  When milk is just beginning to boil, whisk in flour/water combination.  Continue whisking until mixture has thickened.  Slowly add half of the cheese and whisk until well combined.  Add the smashed roasted garlic and stir to combine.  Heat for a minute or two to allow the flavors to meld.  Add cooked noodles. and stir to combine.  Add remainder of cheese and stir until all noodles are coated and cheese is melted.

Spray a large casserole dish or oven-safe glass bowl with non-stick cooking spray.  Transfer noodle-cheese mixture to casserole or bowl and top evenly with seasoned breadcrumbs.

Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes until heated through and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

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