Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Creamy Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

The creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese you'll ever taste! This quick and easy stove top version can be ready in 20 minutes and is perfect as either a splurge worthy dinner or tasty side dish!

I have a hard time turning down a good mac and cheese - sometimes I channel my inner 5 year old and order it simply as my meal! While I'm an equal opportunity mac and cheese fan (I'll even eat the - gasp - microwave in a cup kind when a craving hits!), super creamy versions are my favorite.

I've made this recipe several times (including this summer with my children's chef camp - they inhaled it!) and I will warn you that it doesn't reheat well. You really need to serve it almost immediately or it begins to break apart and become gummy and grainy. The upside is that it only takes 20 minutes so you can easily whip it up just a few minutes before dinner is served.

Creamy Stovetop White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
16 oz pasta, any shape (cavatappi is my favorite)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
16 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded (do not use pre-shredded)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Once the butter melts, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly. 

Reduce heat to medium and gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until no lumps remain. Continue cooking, whisking often, until the sauce thickens and bubbles. 

Reduce heat to low and slowly add the cheese, whisking until melted and smooth. Add the salt, mustard, black pepper, and cooked pasta; stir well. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until the pasta is well coated and hot.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve immediately.

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