Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mac 'N Cheese


I couldn't do it. I just couldn't. I stared curiously at the box of Velveeta giving me sexy little winks and putting out that "come hither" vibe on me. But it was just sitting there all warm on the grocery store shelf....the non-refrigerated shelf! And so sadly, I could not bring myself to put that box of "cheese" in my cart. I know, I know...I've heard all the dirty little secrets about how it makes your mac 'n cheese oh so creamy. Just add a few other gourmet cheeses and nobody will know. And yet, I still could not do it. Does that make me a snob??? I hope not.

Instead, I compromised with a little cream cheese, and kicked it up (sorry, I don't really like Emeril but sometimes you just need to kick things up) with some cayenne and basil. Yum! This is comfort food at it's finest and even when it's 70 degrees in February, you gotta love it.

Mac 'N Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni or other pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 t. powdered mustard
3 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 T. grated onion
1/8 t. cayenne
1 egg
2 T. chopped basil
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 package cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Topping:
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Stir in the milk, onion, and cayenne, whisking so no lumps form. Simmer for about ten minutes until thickened up a bit.

Temper the egg and add back to the mixture. Stir in cheeses and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

7 comments:

Court said...

I totally agree with the no Velveta sentiment! I went on a similar quest a few weeks back and did a non-Velveta mac and cheese on my blog. It's just too creepy!

Cynthia said...

Cream cheese instead of Velveeta! I think I'm in love...

pigpigscorner said...

Looks sooo creamy and cheesy! Using cream cheese is a wonderful idea!

LCMD said...

HOLY COW! Just made this with slight changes (used 1/2 sharp cheddar and 1/2 monterey jack; blended the bread crumb mixture with 1 clove garlic and parsley). I've always failed at making a creamy enough mac and cheese without using that vile block of velveeta, but this.is.it. Thanks SO much!! I don't know how I'm going to stop myself from eating the entire pan!!

Andrea said...

Okay, the fact that you don't want to put "cheese product" into your food does not make you a snob. Okay? Good. It means you prefer eating real food, which is a virtue. And on that note, I love your mac and cheese and will eat this over the blue box/fake orange cheese stuff any day.

Cherie said...

Velveeta is an American thing. It doesn't sound very appetizing so I would say you are not a snob but rather a woman of taste! ;)

Krisi and Adam said...

Wow ... this looks so good! What a great idea to substitute cream cheese for the Velveta.