Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

For some reason I have a tendency to latch on to a particular flavor combination. For a while it was spinach, diced tomato, and feta cheese. Before that I was on some kind of southwestern kick. Now, it’s blue cheese.

I had forgotten how much I loved blue cheese until I had the Pioneer Woman’s blue cheese pasta several months ago. Before that, it had been years since I’d had blue cheese. Now I can’t use it enough.

I haven’t had very good luck with macaroni and cheese in the past. I grew up on the blue box and while I still love it, in all it’s processed and unhealthy goodness, I rarely eat it for those very reasons. My homemade attempts have been okay, but none of them have reheated very well. Because of that, I almost didn’t try this recipe–but thank goodness I did.

Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 pound macaroni pasta (I used shells, but you can use your favorite)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups blue cheese, crumbled
Red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish. 13×9 inches is preferable, but it can be separated into two smaller baking dishes is necessary.

2) Cook pasta to al dente. Drain and save for later.

3) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the flour, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Make sure not to burn the flour. **If you’ve never made a roux, don’t be surprised to see the flour kind of clump up. This will help thicken the cheese mixture later.**

4) Gradually add the milk and cream, whisking them into the flour mixture. Simmer until mixture thickens, whisking constantly.

5) Reduce heat to low and add cheese (reserving 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese for topping), a small handful at a time. Whisk until all cheese had been added and is melted. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

6) Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce and stir to coat. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan(s) and top with reserved cheddar cheese. Bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 20-25 minutes.

This mac and cheese is delicious. If you’re not a huge blue cheese fan, you can always sub in more cheddar and less blue cheese, but the salty tang of the blue cheese is what makes this dish so good. It’s not an overwhelming flavor, it’s just enough to make this dish something a little special.

The leftovers were good, too. It reheats really well, and the cheese is almost as smooth as the first day it’s made.

 This makes way too much for two people, so if you don’t want to eat the leftovers (as good as they are) for a week, I would halve the recipe.

One tip: Make sure you get good, block cheese and shred/crumble it yourself. The pre-shredded stuff does not melt as well.

Adapted from THIS recipe.

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