Tag Archives: baked macaroni and cheese

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

7 Oct

As I was reading for First Amendment (which, incidentally, is the weirdest area of law I have so far encountered in my studies), I was day dreaming about what to make for lunch.  And like a bolt of lightning, it hit me – I hadn’t made mac and cheese in a good long time.  Especially not the baked variety. And, because I am a cheese monster, I knew I had all of the ingredients necessary to make a pretty bad ass version on hand.

The combination of flavors in this particular mac and cheese is really stellar.  The Jarlsberg has a pungent sharpness, the ricotta a straightforward creaminess, and the pecorino romano a sharp bite.  The vegetable stock adds a rich layer of flavor – and takes the calories down several notches, which is always a plus.  All of those flavors are reinforced and highlighted by the bright, sharp Dijon mustard and slightly sweet heat of the New Mexico chile powder.  The sauce was extremely creamy – and had that awesome, melt-y, string-y thing going on where you grab a noodle and the cheese just oozes in beautiful, bendy strings of glory.  The bottom and top of the casserole both crisped up beautifully to act as a contrast to the creamy cheese.

So if you’re looking for a slightly fancier-than-average, creamier-than-average, more-flavorful-than-average macaroni and cheese … I suggest you start shredding up some Jarlsberg.

Jarlsberg and Ricotta Mustardy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box pasta (I used penne rigate)

2 tbs. butter

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded

1/2 cup ricotta

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, shredded

3 tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. New Mexican chile powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2-3 tbs. Italian bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a medium sauce pan of water to a boil.  When boiling, add noodles and cook two minutes less than package instructions.

As soon as you add the noodles, melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  While whisking, slowly add flour.  Don’t worry if it is slightly clumpy toward the end.

Continuously whisking, add the vegetable stock.  Whisk until smooth and creamy.  If any liquid remains, cook until it evaporates.

Add cheese and whisk to combine into a creamy sauce.  Stir in mustard and chile powder.  Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper as necessary.

At this point, the noodles should be ready to drain.  Drain noodles and then add the noodles to the cheese sauce.  Stir to evenly combine.

Spray a small casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Transfer the noodles to the casserole dish.  Top with the bread crumbs and spray again with nonstick.

Transfer to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until bread crumb topping is light golden brown and the cheese sauce bubbles.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

Mac and Cheez-It

30 Oct

Yesterday, Zak and I had a friend over so they could brew some beer.  Late in the afternoon, everyone was getting hungry and I was running through a list of things I could make.  Everyone – including myself – was excited and intrigued by the prospect of some macaroni and cheese topped with crumbled Cheez-Its.

Cheez-Its have long been a favorite snack in my family.  My little brother has always loved them, and I’ve become increasingly obsessed as I get older.  They’re one of my go-to vending machine items when I forget to pack some as a snack at school.  I figured the deliciousness of a macaroni and cheese could only be increased by crumbling some cheesy little morsels of goodness on top of it.

I used a mixture of all the cheeses I happened to have on hand in this creamy and delicious version of macaroni and cheese.  The ricotta mellowed out the slight spice from the pepper jack.  The Parmesan added a hint of sharpness that contrasted really well with the colby-jack.  Topped with the sharp, pungent flavor of the cheddar Cheez-Its, this was a really lovely macaroni and cheese that we all enjoyed.

Mac and Cheez-It

1 box rigatoni, cooked according to package instructions and drained

1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

3/4 cup colby jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

3 tbs. butter

2 tbs. whole wheat flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup Cheez-Its, crushed

Freshly cracked black pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan.  Slowly whisk in the flour until a paste forms, adding over the course of 3-5 minutes.  Season liberally with black pepper.  Continuously whisking, add the milk.  Once smooth and creamy, add the cheese in small batches while whisking.

Add the noodles and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.

Transfer to a casserole dish.  Top evenly with the crushed Cheez-Its.  Spray with  nonstick spray and transfer to the oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes until Cheez-Its are golden brown.

Ricotta Dill Mac and Cheese

21 Apr

The weather was chilly and rainy.  I was frustrated with my over-the-page limit and ever-expanding legal writing assignment.  I had a job interview in the afternoon and was looking to cheer myself up before driving over there.  All of that spells a desperate need for some comfort food.  Which, for me, means cheese.  In this case, mac and cheese.  This turned out absolutely decadent and turned my mood around in a jiffy.  I am a big proponent of baked macaroni and cheese – it’s worth the extra few minutes every single time.  Creamy, melt-y, crunchy, and gooey, this was a smile in a bowl.

Ricotta Dill Mac and Cheese

1 cup whole wheat shells

1/4 cup lemon dill-ricotta spread

1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded

1 tbs. butter

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 cup 1% milk

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375º.

Bring a medium sauce pan of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.  Drain thoroughly.

In a medium nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat.  A little at a time, whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook until slightly golden brown, whisking frequently.  Continuously whisking, add milk.  While whisking, add mozzarella and lemon-dill ricotta spread.  Add noodles and dill to the pan and stir to coat.  Transfer to an oven proof bowl.

Top with bread crumbs and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake 15-20 minutes until heated through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Sausage and Leek Baked Macaroni and Cheese

25 Feb

I thought about making this dish all  day.  I yearned for it, pined for it, fantasized about it.  My mouth watered over it, my tummy rumbled over it.  At a certain point, I began to tell myself, “Chill out.  It won’t be nearly as good as you’re imagining it will be.  You’re building it up too much.  You’re going to disappoint yourself!”  I wanted this to be good, because yesterday Zak told me he ate dinner on Monday at “this burger Asiany place” where he got a “truffle cheese and glazed burger and split a truffle beet salad.”  I asked him where and my suspicions were confirmed – Umami Burger.  I was jealous.

After I ate this, though, I wasn’t jealous.  All of my pining paid off.  This was delicious.  The crispy, smokey goodness of the sausage, the creamy deliciousness of the cheese and macaroni, and the slightly bitter flavor of the leek greens worked so well together.  The panko crust was buttery and crunchy.  This was so, so good.  It takes about 15 minutes of hands on time and is simple and easy.  If you can chop up some sausage and use a whisk, you can make this macaroni and cheese to end all macaroni and cheeses.

Sausage and Leek Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 cup elbow noodles, cooked al dente and drained (I used Barilla Plus for some extra nutritional value)

4 oz. smoked low fat turkey sausage, cut into 1/2″ dice

1 tsp. olive oil

1/2 cup leek greens, roughly chopped

1/2 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 cup very sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup 1% milk

3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened and divided

1 tbs. all natural, whole wheat flour

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat a olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add turkey sausage and sauté until well-browned and crispy, 8-10 minutes.  Add leek greens and stir to coat with any rendered fat and olive oil.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat milk in a small saucepan until heated through and barely at a simmer.

Melt 2 1/2 tbs. butter over medium heat in a medium sauté pan.  Slowly whisk in flour to form a rue.  While whisking, slowly add hot milk.  When smooth, while whisking, add grated cheese in small batches to form a sauce.

Mix together pasta, sauce, sausage, and leeks.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Place in an oven proof bowl.

Mix together remaining 1/2 tbs. butter and bread crumbs.  Top noodles with bread crumbs and bake, uncovered, 25 minutes until bread crumbs are golden brown and cheese sauce is bubbling.

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