So, if you read my blog or know anything about me, you know that I have a weakness for macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and Cheese is my kryptonite… no matter how well I’m doing on a diet, I can’t ever seem to resist some cheesy mac. I guess if I’m being honest, I love anything with copious amounts of melted cheese on it–grilled cheese, fettucini alfredo, lasagna, queso dip, etc. I read somewhere once in a marketing textbook (or maybe I dreamed it…it’s really hard to say), that people are 70% more likely to buy something if it’s illustrated with a picture of melted cheese (I know I’m guilty of this, so we’ll call it science).
Recently my mom posted a video on my wall of some italian guy named Fabio making italian macaroni and cheese, and even though I’d decided that morning I was going to start dieting, I knew that if I didn’t make that recipe soon, I’d be dreaming about Mac n Cheese for the next few weeks. So, of course, I went out that afternoon and bought all of the ingredients I needed for my cheese extravaganza.
I edited the recipe a bit from Fabio’s recommendations, partly because I couldn’t find fontina cheese, and partly because it is impossible for me to exactly follow directions of any kind. So below is my edited recipe from Fabio’s Italian Macaroni and Cheese.
- 1 lb. dry elbow macaroni
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces shredded smoked gouda cheese ( just got a round from Bi-Lo and shredded the entire thing)
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (or gorgonzola)
- 1.5 cups heavy cream
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 lemon, zested
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Put the heavy cream and all the cheeses into a metal mixing bowl.
- Add cracked pepper and pinch of salt to cream and cheese.
- Put the bowl on top of a pot of boiling water on medium high and stir until the cheese is melted, set it aside.
- Cook pasta in the pot of boiling water until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Saute the minced garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft.
- Remove garlic and mix with pasta.
- Mix in the cheese sauce, and put in the pot and heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. At this point, if you didn’t want to bake the macaroni, you could eat it right now. It tasted great and would’ve made a great creamy macaroni and cheese. I kind of wish I’d set some aside to compare the difference in taste.
- While the sauce is heating, put the breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until well combined.
- Place Mac and cheese in an oven safe container and top with bread crumb mixture and bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. I made the mistake of leaving the macaroni in too long. The original recipe said 15-20 minutes, and I left it in for 17, and my finished result was not as creamy as I’d wanted it to be. I think it would have been much better had I not left it in as long.
- Also, I topped it with some more cheese, which I would advise against doing, since the cheese will burn before everything else is finished cooking. If you do want to top it with some cheese, do it like 2 minutes before you plan to take it out, that will it will be melty and delicious, and not burnt.