I think just about every Mac and Cheese recipe I try is my favorite. But this Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe deserves special accolades because of the cheese crisps. You can never have too much cheese. 🙂
I made this for my daughter, who has recently become a vegetarian, as a special meal before she left for a 3-week trip to Europe. I think it’s the only thing I’ve cooked in recent weeks that she’s eaten. In my fantasy world, all my family members take great interest in my cooking and wait with great expectation for the next meal to be served. Nobody takes a look at my food and asks if they can have money to go to Moe’s. 🙁
But this Stovetop Mac and Cheese meal got two thumbs up from my daughter. In addition to the cheese crisps, this recipe has one of my favorite ingredients- mascarpone cheese. It makes the sauce extra rich, creamy, and velvety with none of the grittiness that’s sometimes present in mac and cheese. The sauce is thick enough to perfectly coat the macaroni.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Cheese Crisps
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups), grated
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 cups milk
- 4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- Set aside 1 cup of extra-sharp cheddar. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, drop cheese in pan to form 8 mounds of cheese. (You may have to do them in 2 batches.) As you drop the cheese spread it out in the shape of a 4-inch pancake. Cook until lacey and golden and then flip over carefully using a flexible spatula. You may mess up the shape of the first few while you are getting the hang of it, but they will still taste good. Cook for about 1 minute on the second side and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain.
- In a very large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until bubbling and the raw taste of the flour has had a chance to cook out. Add the paprika and white pepper.
- Gradually add the milk, whisking rapidly to keep the mixture smooth. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until thick and creamy.
- Stir in the remaining 1 cup of cheddar and the fontina and cook over low heat until the cheese melts.
- Remove from heat and stir in mascarpone cheese and add salt to taste. Add pasta to sauce and cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until hot. Serve with cheese crisps.
Source: Recipe adapted from Food and Wine
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