Extra Cheesy Queso Mac
Cheese-cheese-cheese-cheese! This recipe for queso-mac features four types of, what do you call it… cheese! Nutty Gruyere from Switzerland, milky Jarlsberg from Norway, sharp Parmesan from Italy, and chewy cheddar from England. Extra-cheesy queso-mac is for the true cheese lover.
Serve Extra-cheesy queso mac with a citrus salad; the acidic citrus counters the over-the-top cheesiness of this dish. If this dish is for a special dinner, a crisp white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, goes well. Avoid heavy desserts -- this cheesy dish should take center stage with light accompaniments.
- 1 head garlic, roasted and diced
- 1/2 c green onion, chopped
- 12 oz. pasta
- 1/2 c bread crumbs
- 1/4 c butter
- 1/4 c flour
- 2 c milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 c sharp cheddar, grated
- 1/2 c Gruyere, grated
- 1/2 c Parmesan, grated
- 1/2 c Jarlsberg, grated
- 2 t corn starch
Comfort Food? Suitable for Date Night?
- Preheat oven to 400˚.
- Cook and drain the pasta, set aside
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter; add the flour, onions, garlic, salt and pepper, whisk until blended (will be thick)
- Pour the milk, stirring constantly
- Bring to low boil; stir and reduce heat, simmering for 10 min. Stir constantly to avoid curdling
- Add shredded cheeses little by little until melted
- Place pasta in large bowl; pour cheese sauce over pasta, stirring to coat evenly
- Transfer to buttered baking dish or individual ramekins; sprinkle with bread crumbs
- Bake for 20 min, until golden brown.
- Makes 6 servings
The comfort food macaroni and cheese may seem like a no-brainer, but it is possible to ruin this beautiful dish. Follow the tips below to avoid mac-n-cheese disappointment.
- Don't buy cheap cheese. Think of queso mac as fondue poured over noodles. Good, aged cheese gives the dish its rich flavors.
- Sprinkle corn starch over hard cheeses like Gruyere. The corn starch makes hard cheeses melt more easily, just like with fondue.
- Stir the Béchamel for a full 8 to 10 minutes. You want the flour, butter and milk to cook slightly to avoid giving the cheese sauce a floury taste.
- Add a sprinkle of nutmeg for an even more complex flavor profile.
- The baking step may be omitted; you only need to bake macaroni and cheese if creating the bread crumb crust.
Favorite Mac and Cheese
What's your favorite cheese for mac and cheese?
Spare Cheese -- Now What?
Most likely when you buy the cheeses for this recipe you will find yourself with leftovers. Quelle dommage!
Cheese has oh-so-many uses. With a bit of wine, you can turn the Gruyere and Jarlberg into an internationally-inspired fondue.
How about the other comfort food -- grilled cheese! Slice apple or pear thinly and layer with the Gruyere for a French-inspired grilled cheese. Spread a thin coating of quince jam on the bread before adding the Jarlsberg. Put thin strips of pickled pimento with the cheddar. What other combinations can you think of?
Make bruschetta. Sprinkle a little olive oil and garlic on hard bread, add the Parmesan, and broil. Alternately spread a thin layer of pesto before adding the Parmesan.
Speaking of pesto, make pesto! Homemade pesto is much better than anything you will buy in a store or eat in a restaurant outside of Genoa, Italy. (Theirs is probably better, but for those of us living elsewhere...)
Make more mac and cheese!