Friday, February 25, 2011

White Cheddar Mac-n-Cheese

"You're weird!"
(think of Johnny Depp saying that in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory")

Okay you're not weird but I am especially when it comes to certain things.

Like mac-n-cheese.  I can't stand the "nice" boxed kind from the store.  I didn't even like it as a kid.  My mom would ask me to make it for dinner when my parents were out on date night and I kid you not, I burned it every time!

It's so true.  I couldn't stand the stuff so naturally I would go off and do something while it was cooking and before you know it, it was burned.  My brothers and sisters didn't appreciate it too much but I'm still that way.  I can't hardly cook something I don't like.  

My family loves mac-n-cheese though and I love the homemade kind.  One of my husbands great loves in life is cheese.  His dream is to be able to have 20 different kinds of cheese at all times in the house with some crackers and some fresh fruit.  Silly boy, hopefully we will get there (today we 4, that's better than 1 right?).  Anyways, I found that our Costco had gotten some new cheeses in and I brought a new kind home for him.  It is a coastal white cheddar, quite strong but delicious.  It was the inspiration for this yumminess.

16 oz. macaroni noodles
5 T. butter, divided
1 c. heavy cream
8 oz. cheese, shredded (I would recommend something strong like an aged cheddar, muenster, or what cheese your family prefers)
Salt and pepper
¼ c. Ritz cracker crumbs

1.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.

2.  Dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.  Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.

3.  Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well.  Stir in the warm cream and the cheese until the cheese starts to melt.  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish.  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Mix in the cracker crumbs.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.

5.  Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Source:  Annie's Eats
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