do you want to be the favorite at potlucks/family reunions/thanksgiving? do you want everyone to enjoy a rich and delightful cold-weather comfort food? are you the kind of person who dislikes the artificiality of kraft or velveeta cheese? can you tolerate a shitload of lactose? do you enjoy the overwhelming desire to take a nap immediately after a large meal?
then just trust me ok trust me. go to your kitchen. get these things.
click here for Da Recipe
- an oven. but i guess you don't really NEED to bake it, if you cook the pasta all the way
- a casserole dish and saucepan, OR one oven-safe deep dish pan, a pot, a strainer, cheese grater, a whisk maybe, all that jazz
- one box of pasta (i use 16oz of shells or bowties)
- ¼ cup butter, keep a little bit more on the side for later
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 cup light cream, you can use heavy cream for a MUCH richer taste (or skip the milk and use 2 ½ cups half and half if you want)
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- mix and match whichever of these you like: minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder, herbs of your choice, salt & pepper, honestly you can a TINY bit of nutmeg and cinnamon if you want a nice autumnal vibe
- as much goddamn grated cheese as you want, imo you literally can't add too much, i like to use imported irish cheddar when i'm trying to impress someone. whatever you want it doesn't matter. 4 cups is baseline but you can add SO MUCH MORE just don't give it to anyone lactose intolerant you'll kill them.
- parmesan cheese. just some (OPTIONAL)
- panko bread crumbs (OPTIONAL)
- pulled pork or chicken breast (OPTIONAL)
1. so to prep you're going to grate all of the cheese (except the parmesan) you're using by hand. it's tempting to use bagged shredded cheese because it's cost effective but there are certain preservatives and differences in the making of it that make it cook differently. if you use it anyway, tell me how it goes! i've never tried it with this recipe in particular so i could be missing out on some savings
2. you have an oven yes? ok. preheat that bitch to 425 degrees fahrenheit (220 C.) if you choose not to preheat your oven i don't respect you <3
3. ok so what you're going to do. is take a pot, put some salt in there and some hot water, boil it, then you're going to boil the pasta until it's al dente. when you eat a piece of pasta and it's soft with just a little tiny bit of crunch it's done. put it in the strainer, blast it with cold water so it stops cooking and then drain it
4. while it boils you're gonna make the roux (a mix of fat and flour for making sauces). turn your stove on a medium heat (i have a gas stove that goes up to 7, i put it on 4.) in the saucepan, melt your 1/4 cup of butter. don't burn it!
5. add your mustard powder. add your other spices too, but start small, because you won't be able to take it out later but you can always add more!
6. SLOWLY and gradually add your flour, this works best if you sift it, but you don't have to if you can whisk all the flour clumps out. it should take about 2 minutes until it's thickened enough to move to the next step. if it's a nice yellow color and kind of doughy and clumped together, that's good
7. start gradually adding your milk and cream, same way you added the flour. stir it in while you pour it and try to de-clump the roux. it should mix in with the wet ingredients just fine
8. here it is ... The Best Part ... once it's all had time to heat up in the pan, start adding your grated cheese, a handful at a time. you want it all to melt when you stir it in. this is the part where, once all the cheese is in the sauce, you can taste it! does it need more garlic powder? maybe it needs some basil or thyme? go absolutely bananas, offer a taste to your friends/family/roommates if you got em! this is what the final product will taste like, so you want to make sure everyone is satisfied with it
9. all melted? tastes good? GREAT !!! pour your pasta in that bad boy. mix it around real nice. i mix it a lot more than usual if i'm using shells, just to make sure all that cheese gets in there nice and good.
OPTIONAL STUFF: add your pulled pork/chicken! stir it in just like the pasta. you can also leave it in a bowl on the side and let people mix it into their own bowls, in case someone would prefer to skip the meat. grate a little layer of parmesan cheese over the top of the whole thing. in a separate pan, fry up some panko bread crumbs in butter and put them to the side once they're a nice brown.
10. slapp that bapy boy in the oven and let him cook for 18 - 24 minutes (i aim for 22!) if it starts bubbling, it's done. if it doesn't, it's probably still done. you don't wanna overcook it, but it's going to taste good no matter what you do, so if you don't care then i won't judge you
11. this is vitally important: LET IT COOL !!! i give it about 10 to 15 minutes to chill out, but if you're impatient and don't mind burning your mouth, 5 is fine. if you made the bread crumbs, sprinkle them over top! they add a really good texture to the whole thing, they're honestly my favorite part
this isn't even a side. this is a main dish. you will eat this and you will feel denser. it is so rich and creamy and cheesy and delicious ... and then you will immediately take the best nap of your life. you will wake up in a different timeline. this is the mac and cheese of champions. yes i know it is not strictly MAC and cheese because i never use actual macaroni but what else am i going to call it? Cheese Pasta?
sorry for the random recipe posting but i am always looking for excuses to preach the gospel of this stuff. it's a recipe me and my mom found online that we've been riffing off of ever since! when she finally got to the point where she added bleu cheese, that was the moment i knew we had gone too far, so here's the version i've settled on lol. if you like a more "orange cheese" kind of vibe, you can add a can of cheddar soup to the sauce and use less grated cheese, but i tried that and it's not my thing ... Xp
here in the northeast we're heading into autumn, so i wanted to share for any of my spacehey pals looking for a cozy meal on a cold/snowy day :)