Mac & Cheese for me is one of the easiest and most delicious meals you can make in the entire planet.
I cook it for my family whenever they have gooey, carb-y cravings to shut them up, haha. I swear, it always happens when I’m about to relax and watch Netflix. Ugh. Truth is, I get annoyed because once they request for my Mac & Cheese I am bound to eat it too and that means extra calories!! Ayaw ng #diet. Oh, well, live a little, right?
There are so many ways and variations in making this cheese-y pasta concoction and when it comes to cooking, my style is always easy, quick and yummy.
My secrets revealed:
Secret #1: Stove top recipe = Quick & easy
Secret #2: Cream + 3 kinds of cheeses = Yummy
Secret #3: Herbs + extra virgin olive oil + panko topping = My ultimate secret!!!
Let’s get to it!!!!!!!!
The Best Mac & Cheese
(Classic & Truffle versions)
2 cups of elbow macaroni and/or macaroni salad pasta (I used both for this recipe)
1 cup sharp cheddar (non-negotiable)
1/2 cup mozarella or any quick-melt cheese
1/4 cup Monterey Jack or truffle cheese
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
truffle oil (optional)
1 cup panko (Japanese style bread crumbs) or regular, plain bread crumbs
2 tbsp flour (plain)
1/4 cup salted butter
1 tbsp. dried Italian herbs
1-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (just enough to coat the panko)
pinch of paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
Step 1: Cook the pasta according to the package. Don’t forget to add salt to the boiling water. Make sure to keep an eye on the pasta as you want it to be aldente not mushy.
Step 2: In a bowl, mix the panko, extra virgin olive oil, dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper.
Tip: Mix well until all the panko crumbs are coated in oil and well-seasoned. Also, prepare the topping ahead before you cook the cheese sauce.
IMPORTANT: If you don’t have an oven or toaster over to brown the topping, just use a separate skillet and toast the panko till it’s crispy and golden brown.
Step 3: Make the roux by melting the butter and then add the flour. Stir until it forms a thick butter sauce.
Step 4: Once the roux is ready, slowly add the cream and milk. Mix well.
Step 6: Season the cream mixture with paprika and cayenne pepper
Step 7: Observe the mountain of cheese and be grateful for its existence.
Step 8: Stir until all the cheeses. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.
Tip: If you’re making Truffle Mac & Cheese DO NOT add the truffle cheese to the mixture. Just use the two other cheeses and add the truffle cheese as topping. This way, it will intensify the truffle flavor.
Step 9: Mix the sauce until all the cheese have melted.
Step 10: Once the cheese sauce is cooked, add the pasta and mix.
Tip: Taste the pasta and adjust the flavor to your liking before adding the topping.
Step 10: Prepare the ramekins, no need to grease them.
For classic Mac & Cheese: Just fill the ramekin with the pasta
For Truffle Mac & Cheese: Add the truffle oil and mix the pasta in the ramekin.
Step 12: For Truffle Mac & Cheese, top the pasta with grated truffle cheese.
Step 13: Add the panko mixture and brown it under a broiler or oven toaster. It should take very little time to toast the panko so watch over it. Again, if you don’t have an oven, you can just use a skillet to brown the panko and just top the mac & cheese with it.
Step 13: Take a photo and post it on Instagram, tag me because you know it’s right. LOL
Step 14: Dig in!
My family’s comfort food craving satisfied. Everyone at home is stuffed and finally quiet. I can now enjoy life.