We all know and love the tasty comfort food we found growing up with the infamous blue box of cheesy goodness that our moms made so effortlessly since its introduction in 1937. Now that I'm a mom, I want my daughter to enjoy this cheesy decadence as well, but not always out of a box. Any chance I get to make it without the use of a box...so be it. I mean why not? It's inexpensive, very easy to make, most of us have the ingredients already on hand, and it's certainly tastier and healthier than our boxed friend. I for one am a straightforward Mac and cheese gal...simple, creamy goodness, not baked for that crunchy top (how I love when it's creamy throughout) and no add ins. Now don't get me wrong, every once in a while, a tempting version laced with lobster, truffles, or even bacon manages to tickle my fancy, and it would be so unlike me not to indulge in such luxury. So when I'm at home making this for my family...I keep it as simple as can be, and if they're happy, I'm happy.
Give this a try if you are looking for easy, cheesy comfort food.
Wine Pairing: Some reds and whites would be a nice compliment to this rich dish. For whites, I would go with either a Chardonnay or Soave, and my picks for reds would be a Syrah or Pinot Noir.
Creamy Mac and Three Cheeses
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp kosher salt
6 cups milk
1 box (1 lb) elbow macaroni or cavatappi cooked to package directions
drained and rinsed with cold water
1 1/2 cups manchego cheese, shredded
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup monterey jack, shredded
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add flour, salt and mustard powder, and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Add milk very gradually, stirring with a whisk to combine between additions. Bring this mixture to a simmer. You are looking for the consistency of heavy cream. Once you are at this stage, add in all the cheese, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine and lowering the heat to medium low. Cook for 1 minute, then add cooked and drained macaroni to the cheese sauce. Combine and cover for 5 minutes over low heat.
Serve and enjoy!
Oh, and don't forget....it only begs for a couple of twists from the peppermill.....