Thursday, December 27, 2012

Creamy Macaroni & Cheese with Fontina

I used to think that boxed macaroni and cheese was really good. I actually really loved that packet of orange artificial cheese powder that was stirred into the noodles. I don't think I ever realized that you could eat macaroni and cheese from anything but a box! I tried out a classic mac and cheese recipe from a food blog, and although it was good, it wasn't mind blowing. Then I tried out this macaroni and cheese with fontina, and it was mind blowing! I also tried a gruyere mac and cheese recipe last night from Ina Garten, and it was also amazing. I have made this creamy macaroni and cheese recipe quite a few times, and Greg & I thoroughly enjoy it. I have to get my share of cheesy recipes in before the end of this year (4 more days), because Greg wants to try going lactose free at the start of the new year. Um, I am very worried about that, because I am a total cheese lover. I'll keep you posted on how long the lactose free thing lasts (wait a minute, does chocolate have lactose...), but for now, here is a delicious recipe full of all the dairy that I love! Enjoy.

Recipe for Creamy Macaroni & Cheese with Fontina 

1 16-oz box of medium-sized pasta shells
2 tsp. kosher salt
5 ounces of unsalted butter, divided
8 ounces of cream
A pinch of salt
A couple of dashes of ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
7 ounces of grated Fontina cheese
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese

Add the 2 tsp. of salt to a large pot of boiling water and cook pasta shells according to package directions so they are cooked 1 minute shy of al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat until it is warmed. Remove cream from heat and cover until ready to use. Cut 4 Tbsp. of the butter into small pieces and put into a large bowl.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain it completely in a colander. Add the pasta into the bowl with the butter and toss well. Stir in the cream, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Then add in the cheese and stir until cheese is melted and creamy. Pour the pasta into a very lightly buttered 2-quart baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a smallish bowl, melt the 1 Tbsp. of butter. Stir in the panko bread crumbs and finely grated parmesan, and mix so the bread crumbs and cheese are coated with the butter. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta.

Place the pasta into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Let cool for about a minute before serving. This dish goes well with a green salad or green vegetable. Enjoy!

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats