Holiday Mac and Cheese
- Large skillet or pot
- Small greased baking dish
- 5 oz sharp cheddar
- 5 oz monterey jack
- 5 oz havarti
- 5 oz gouda
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 small onion minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 4-5 cups Thanksgiving stock or chicken/veggie stock of choice, room temperature
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp ground mustard powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Shred all cheeses on the largest side of a box grater. Gently toss all cheeses together. Reserve a total of 4oz of the cheese mixture for the top.
- In a large skillet or pot, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add in onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add in elbows and stir to coat.
- Pour in about 1/3 of the stock and cook over medium heat, stirring until most of the liquid is evaporated.
- Repeat this process until the pasta is al dente and there is a bit of liquid remaining in the pan. You want to maintain a simmer (not a full boil) through this process so that the pasta cooks gently and all the liquid doesn’t cook off without the pasta being able to absorb it and cook through. *
- Reduce heat to very low and stir in cheeses (saving the reserved bit for the top) 1/3 at a time, until fully melted. Turn off heat. Stir in spices.
- Stir in cream cheese until melted. Mix in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour into a small greased baking dish and top with panko and the reserved cheese mixture.**
- Turn on broiler to high. Place mac and cheese under the broiler and broil until golden, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it!
*You may not use all the stock, thats ok! It’s important to make sure there is still a bit of liquid in the pan before adding the cheeses, as that is what the cheese will melt into to make a nice creamy sauce. ** You can make this up to this point a few hours ahead of serving and leave it at room temperature. When ready to serve, cover with foil and bake at 400ºF for 30-45 minutes until hot. Uncover and broil. I will say, if possible, I would just make this as written and serve immediately. It’s best when freshly made and served, but this option to make ahead is still quite yummy!
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