Comfort Food, Dinner Ideas, Sides

Super Creamy Mac and Cheese

Here’s a Super Creamy Mac & Cheese recipe for you just in time for Sunday meal planning!

This Mac & Cheese was inspired by a Epicurious video I recently viewed, 4 Levels of Mac and Cheese. I like the 4 Levels Series because they breakdown the science of a dish and feature the dish from three different cooking levels – an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef. I like to think I’m a home cook/chef and this recipe falls into that level 👍!

Tonight’s recipe includes mustard powder, which according to the food scientist on the video, “has some emulsifying properties that keeps the sauce nice and creamy and smooth and also adds a really nice layer of spice.” Since I usually add hot sauce to my Mac & Cheese, I thought I’d give mustard powder a try and boy am I glad because it was delicious and added a nice bit of spice. The food scientist also mentioned the importance “to balance the flavor of a hard cheese with the moisture of a soft cheese” because you get great “meltability” and delicious flavor. As I usually do with my Mac & Cheese, I like adding both hard and soft cheeses because I understand the science of creaminess and delicious food 😉. For this recipe, I included cheddar, monterey jack and mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella is new to me in Mac & Cheese, but I was intrigued by one of the chefs in the video using it because it adds a stringy, stretchy quality and who doesn’t love that cheesy pull with Mac & Cheese 😋!

I hope you enjoy this Mac & Cheese, cheers 🍻!


Mac & Cheese Notes, you’ll find some of these notes in my last Mac & Cheese post too!

  • Cook your pasta to al dente since it will continue to cook with the warm cheese sauce during the bake.
  • Feel free to use the cheeses you love, but as suggested by the food scientist in the 4 Levels of Mac and Cheese, I would use a combination of hard and soft cheese to create the meltability and delicious flavor. Below you will find some of my favorites:
    • Hard or Semi Hard Cheeses
      • Cheddar, always a favorite
      • Smoked Gouda, adds smokiness
      • Gruyère, adds nutness
      • Pepper Jack, will kick the sauce up a notch
    • Soft Cheeses
      • Gorgonzola or blue cheese, if you want funk or if you’re creating buffalo mac & cheese
      • Mozzarella, creates the pull effect and of course adds creaminess
      • Cream Cheese, for extra creaminess
  • I’d use block cheese and cube it or grate it versus using bag shredded cheese because that cheese tends to be coated with cellulose and you lose some cheese flavor with it.
  • I used cavatappi because it’s a larger pasta and allows more surface area for that yummy cheese.
  • Make sure you salt your pasta water well and a good rule of thumb is for every two gallons of water, add a 1/2 cup of salt.
  • I always finish my mac & cheese under the boiler because I like to brown my panko topper.
  • I served this Mac & Cheese with some yummy pulled pork (here’s my Instant Pot Pulled Pork), but feel free to enjoy it with another protein or on its own!

 


More Mac & Cheese Recipes

  • Lobster Mac & Cheese – My brother created this masterpiece with a delicious lobster saffron cream sauce and used gouda, American and cream cheese.
  • Creamy Mac & Cheese – This was the first Mac & Cheese I featured at the site and it delivers some heat with hot sauce and pepper jack cheese and I also included cheddar and cream cheese.

If you try any of my Mac & Cheese recipes, feel free to share your feedback 🙏!

Super Creamy Mac & Cheese

Jackie Ferguson
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Casserole, Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz cavatappi pasta, prepare to al dente
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 TBS all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 dashes hot sauce
  • Salt & ground pepper, for seasoning
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese,  grated
  • 4 oz Monterey cheese, grated
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated

Panko Topping

  • 1 TBS butter, melted
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions
 

  • Begin by preparing the pasta to al dente in salted water. Set aside once it’s cooked until you are ready to combine with the cheese sauce.

Preparing the Cheese Sauce

  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium size saucepan. Once melted add your flour and whisk together to cook off the flour.
  • Once the flour has been cooked ~3mins, create the bechamel sauce by adding the milk and whisk together until thick.
  • Add the mustard powder, hot sauce and season with salt & pepper, as desired.
  • Now time to add the cheese in batches, whisking together until nice and creamy.

Preparing the Mac & Cheese

  • Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and combine together.
  • Transfer to a greased casserole dish.
  • Add the Panko Topper (see Panko Topper below).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • At the 30 minute mark, turn the boiler on for a few minutes to get the topper browned.
  • Enjoy as a side with pulled pork or buffalo wings or a protein of your choice, enjoy and cheers 🍻!

Panko Topper

  • Begin by melting the butter in small sauce pan.
  • Once the butter is melted, add the green onions and panko and mix until well combined. Set aside until you're ready to top the Mac & Cheese.
Keyword Creamy Mac & Cheese, Mac & Cheese, Super Creamy Mac & Cheese

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