It is hard to think of a more satisfying comfort food than macaroni and cheese. This is my new method, which is easier because buying the cheese in thin slices eliminates the tedious task of grading cheese. I now use only white Vermont and Munster. I stop using small elbow macaroni as it does not yield enough pasta. This recipe uses rigatoni.
1 ½ Pounds rigatoni
4 tablespoons sweet butter
4 tablespoons AP flour
½ Pound white Vermont sliced thin
½ Pound Munster sliced thin
1 Cup Heavy cream
Half and Half as needed
Pinch of sweet paprika
1 Teaspoon Garlic powder
1 Teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of nutmeg (optionally)
Pinch white pepper
Salt to taste, if needed
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bring a covered pot with 4 quarts water to a boil. Begin cooking the pasta, keeping in mind, that while you’re making the sauce, the pasta should be drained as soon as it is “al dente”.
Melt butter in a large casserole dish over low heat, add flour. Stir while cooking until very slightly light brown. Whisk in cream over medium heat. Bring to a boil, adding more half and half as it thickens. Add a slice each of both cheeses, whisking as they melt. Alternatively add half and half and cheese until the volume of sauce has increase to fill half the casserole. Whisk in pinch of sweet paprika, garlic, onion powders and ample white pepper. Taste then correct seasonings.
Whisk in pinch of sweet paprika and a pinch white pepper. Add grated Fontina cheese and slowly heat to melt stirring frequently. Now add half the grated cheddar cheese and slowly heat to melt stirring frequently. Add in the cooked pasta. You will need to stir this very well insuring the sauce is distributed evenly all over the pasta.
Top with slices of both cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and browned.
- Rigatoni are a form of tube-shaped pasta of varying lengths and diameters originating in Italy. They are larger than penne and ziti, and sometimes slightly curved, though nowhere near as curved as elbow macaroni. Rigatoni characteristically have ridges down their length.
- If your kids expect all “Mac and cheese” to be yellow, you may use yellow food coloring to the desired shade of yellow. I skip it.
- This is not the French version of Muenster but the milder and less expensive Wisconsin, New York or Vermont version.