Did someone say Mac n cheese?

We were in a particularly cheesy mood one day, my nephews and I, so we decided to make a classic cheesy dish, overloaded with cheesy goodness! I don’t understand WHY does everything taste so much better with cheese!!! Well, let’s pin that debate for a later time. Right now let me share with you how much fun we had making this recipe. 

It was the middle of the day, we had absolutely no agenda, just sitting around, chilling and relaxing when my nephews asked me about my blog. They always show a keen interest in my blog more so because they know I experiment a lot of my dishes on them and for the most part they like my cooking and baking. Allah, The Lord Almightly, bless my beautiful little nephews and their honest, shining hearts. Aameen. So we got to talking and I showed them the posts I had done so far and they reminded me of the dishes I had made for them but hadn’t written about yet. And we got on the topic of pasta and cheese and how much we all loved pasta that we could all easily and happily have been Italian 🙂 but that Mr. Mazhar was not a big fan which is why I didn’t try out as many pasta dishes when it’s just the two of us at home. My sister, not one for too much idle talk, heard about as much of your lamenting as she could stand and then promptly came over and made us all stand up off the couches and into the kitchen! I was at their house because Mazhar had an office dinner to attend in Dubai. Excellent opportunity, my sister pointed out, to make some pasta 🙂

After a minor debate on what to make, since my sister wanted “a little less talk and a little more action, please!” we settled on a baked macaroni and cheese recipe. I honestly don’t think it’s fair to take too much credit for the wonderfully delicious and overly cheesy meal that was served because the cheese did most of the work to make the dish a raging success! But I did my part to bring the elements together, so thank you, thank you, please no applause 😉

Happy cooking everyone!

                                                     

Ingredients 

  • 450 grams elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 100 grams cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt, to taste

For Garnish

  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp Parmesan cheese

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. 
  4. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring all the time with a whisk to avoid forming lumps. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Take the pan off the heat, add the Cheddar, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (You can add a pinch of smoked hot paprika if you like to make a grown up version of this childhood favorite.)
  5. Mix in the sauce with the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. Top off with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni and mozzarella is browned on the top. I topped off the final dish with a pinch of dried parsley and a little bit of Parmesan cheese. You are now ready to serve!

Just to give you another option, I made the same recipe but instead of making a large single dish of Mac n cheese I placed the mixture into a buttered 12 hole cupcake tray and baked individual Mac n cheese cupcakes. My nephews loved the idea and it looked pretty good too. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the finished product but my nephew took one picture of the individual Mac n cheeses before they went into the oven, so I’m sharing that with you so you get an idea of what they will look like. Hope you enjoy making this wonderful classic dish. Do share your experience with me.

 Individual mac n cheese bakes! 

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