Thursday, April 3, 2014

Amanda's Baked Mac and Cheese

In case I haven't made my stance on carbs and cheese (and carby cheesy combinations for that matter) clear before, let me do so now.  There is nothing better.

 My friend Amanda, in her infinite wisdom regarding all things food-related, came up with this recipe.  It is the most perfect baked mac and cheese that I have ever tasted, or can ever imagine tasting.

I've made about a million different versions of this dish, some better than others.  Among the notably bad was one incarnation made in a slow cooker that called for an egg...yikes.  At any rate, I've had many great mac and cheeses, and I'll always argue that any pasta and cheese mixture is a good one...but this is something special.

Try it and you'll agree.  And thank you Amanda for giving me the recipe.  You are my own personal patron saint of cooking.

The World's Most Perfect Baked Mac and Cheese
(adapted from Amanda <3)

4 cups pasta (I prefer shells or gigli)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 cups milk (whole is preferable)
1 cup sour cream
8 oz Velveeta, cubed
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2-3 Tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9x13 pan.

Cook pasta one minute less than the instructions call for al dente.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour, stir well, add milk, stir again.  Allow to simmer, stir for two minutes until thickened.  Reduce heat and mix in sour cream, Velveeta, half the parmesan and pecorino, garlic salt, ground mustard, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Stir well.

Toss cheddar with the cooked pasta, mix the pasta with the cheese sauce.

Pour into the prepared pan, top with breadcrumbs remaining parmesan and pecorino cheese.  Add a couple extra grinds of black pepper & Italian seasoning along with the crumbs and cheese on top if you like, and bake for 35-40 minutes.

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