When Jake was around eight or nine years old a friend of his came over for dinner. Jake was excited that we were having one of his favorite meals–mac and cheese. His friend sat at the table, took one look at his plate and said, “This didn’t come from the blue box!”
At first I wasn’t sure what he meant, but soon realized he was referring to the Kraft version of mac and (what they call) cheese. I coaxed him into trying it. He was hesitant at first, but I knew he liked it when he asked for seconds and his mom asked for the recipe.
So even if you have picky eaters, I think they’ll like this version and YOU’LL really like how easy it is to make.
Because the “mac” is a combination of all the half full boxes of pasta that always seem to accumulate, this is not only a great meal, but an easy way to clean out your pantry! As far as the cheeses–be creative. If you don’t like Blue Cheese, use something else. Just make sure you use a wide variety for a great tasting dish.
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs. of pasta–use a variety, such as large elbow, penne, farfalle, ziti
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I use block cheeses and put them through my food processor–saves a lot of time grating)
- 4 slices Swiss cheese, cut into pieces
- 1 cup grated Jack cheese
- 4 oz. Blue cheese (substitute a milder cheese if you don’t like Blue)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese (save some for the top)
- 3 cups milk, more if needed
- 1/4 stick butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Combine the grated cheeses, garlic and shallot in a large bowl.
Cook the pasta according to the times on the packages, but cook them all in one pot, adding each pasta based on the time needed to cook. It’s easier with one pot, and less clean up.
Put baking dish on a foil-covered, rimmed cookie sheet–if there’s any spillage, it’ll be on the foil, not the bottom of the oven.
Place on the middle rack. After 20 minutes, check and make sure it’s creamy in the middle. You may need to add some more milk and stir a bit. If you stir it, add more Parmesan on top.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes until it’s golden brown.
Everyone I know likes the crispy topping, but if you don’t, just cover with foil as it’s baking.
Serve with warm, crusty French bread and you’ll think you’re in heaven!