Sigh…. It’s been quite the week since we last talked and as a Dallas Cowboys fan I’m in need of some serious comfort. Now I’m not telling you to eat your emotions but we all know that gooey, creamy, cheesy, Macaroni & Cheese makes everything better right? It’s called “Comfort Food” for a reason 🙂
I’m going to be up front and honest with you… This is not a “skinny girl” Mac & Cheese recipe. Nope this recipe has all the good stuff Cream, Half & Half, Butter, Pasta, and LOTS of CHEESE. I mean look at that cheesy bowl of goodness!!
It’s definitely not health food. But what I will say is if you use all natural, good quality, REAL ingredients (there is no FAKE cheese product in this dish) I know this Mac & Cheese is better for you than anything that comes from a box or out of your freezer. After all if I’m going to treat myself with a decadent bowl of Macaroni & Cheese I’m going to go all out and make sure it’s totally worth every bite! Throw caution to the wind, drizzle in a little truffle oil, and eat Mac & Cheese with no regrets!
Extra Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Clove Garlic (Whole)
3 Tablespoons Flour
2-1/2 Cups Half & Half (room temperature)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (room temperature)
3/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
1/8 Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Black Pepper to Taste
1-1/2 Cups Grated Gruyère Cheese
2 Cups Grated Sharp White Cheddar
1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Truffle Oil (optional)*
1 Box Preferred Pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and pre-heat the broiler.
In a large sauce pan over low heat melt the butter. Add the whole clove of garlic and heat until fragrant, then discard. Stir in the flour and cook for about 90 seconds over low heat.
Slowly whisk in the half & half and the heavy cream into the flour butter mixture.
Once combined turn up the heat to medium low and stir until thickened. You know it’s thickened when you can draw a line through the sauce and it stays….
Add in the mustard, nutmeg, thyme, cayenne pepper, truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and slowly stir in 3 cups of cheese.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain well and toss with half the remaining cheese then toss with the sauce.
As Giada De Laurentiis always says…. The Cheese sticks to the pasta and then sauce sticks to the cheese.
Pour the Mac & Cheese into a greased a baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
Mix 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs with 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and sprinkle on top of the grated cheese.
Bake on the middle rack under the broiler until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the cheese melted (2-3 minutes).