V Day with Shanna <3 My good friend Shanna and I vowed to not only spend Valentine’s Day together but to also make it a very special evening of indulgence. Our Valentine’s Day menu included Braised Short Ribs, homemade Macaroni and Cheese, and Tiramisu Pudding. I also had some cupcakes for her.
Three Cheese Pasta Bake
It’s called a three cheese pasta bake, but who is Anna kidding? We all know she means Mac&Cheese. This was my first time making homemade macaroni and cheese and I was not disappointed. In fact I fear I may have set the homemade mac&cheese bar a little too high on this one. As far as I am concerned it is worth every single calorie, maybe don’t sit down and eat half the pan, I will definitely be making this recipe again. It is everything you would want mac&cheese to be; creamy, rich and flavorful, you can taste how bad it is for you and you just don’t care. Perhaps next time I will add some dijon mustard and paprika to the roux.
I think that it might have been even better if I had followed the recipe properly. I used mild cheddar instead of old because that is what I had on hand and I used swiss instead of gruyere because the swiss was a lot cheaper and I was already spending a lot on other cheeses.
Other than the fact that I made some modifications to the ingredient list, I also managed to make this entire recipe without a whisk! This was a first for me and I was quite pleased with the result. Who knew that a fork could do such a good job? Shanna forgot to tell me that she needs to do a kitchen utensil shop so we had to get creative throughout the entire cooking process. I guess I know what I am getting her for her house warming gift…
Three Cheese Pasta Bake
450 g macaroni pasta
1/2 cups butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups 2% milk
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg ** This is important**
1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar cheese *I used mild
1 cup grated Swiss Gruyere *I used Swiss cheese
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and boil, uncovered, until just tender to taste. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and add flour. Stir with a wooden or non-reactive spoon until mixture has a lightly nutty aroma but no colour, about 5 minutes.
Slowly whisk in milk, then bring entire mixture up to a simmer, whisking constantly. If lumps do occur, strain and return to heat. Add nutmeg and whisk in cream cheese until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in cheddar and gruyere until melted.
Stir in cooked macaroni and spoon into an 8-cup (2 L) baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling around the edges.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.