The recipe I’m about to share with you is not even remotely healthy. It contains 12 ounces of cheese, 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream, and 5 tablespoons of butter (okay, 2 tablespoons of regular butter and 3 tablespoons of light margarine, but that’s really not that much better).
If you read that and thought, “That’s disgusting!” this is probably not the meal for you. I do post healthier meals on occasion, though, (as well as many other things) so there’s still hope that you might enjoy this blog.
If, however, you saw those ingredients and were intrigued, please read on. Then make this meal immediately.
Although this is such a decadent, unhealthy meal, I’ve made it twice in the past few weeks. The first time I made it, Eric and I were both like, “Oh my God this is amazing!” Since it was such a hit (even the leftovers were delicious!), I decided to make it again while my mom was in town. Once again, it received rave reviews.
Here’s the thing … I’ve had some homemade macaroni and cheese disasters in the past. The first time I ever attempted to make it, my roux was so lumpy that I had to throw it out and completely start over. I’ve also fallen victim to the grainy sauce that often results when you try to cut corners and use packaged shredded cheese instead of shredding a block of cheese yourself. Don’t do that. Trust me … It’s worth taking the extra time to shred it yourself.
But this recipe? Perfection. It’s simple and it’s delicious. It’s also inspired by the macaroni and cheese at Panera. (If you’ve ever eaten their macaroni and cheese, you’ll know exactly why this is a good thing.)
White Cheddar and Fontina Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Smells Like Home.
- 1 box (16 oz.) elbow pasta (or another small pasta shape if elbows aren’t your thing)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp low fat margarine
- 8 oz. sharp Vermont white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 tsp-1 tbsp Dijon mustard (I used 1 tbsp because I really like the tanginess of the mustard, but this can be adjusted according to what you like)
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s RedHot)
- Shred both blocks of cheese. (This should be obvious, but I’m adding this as the first step because I really recommend buying blocks of cheese and shredding them yourself.)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Melt the butter and light margarine together in a large skillet until bubbly.
- Add flour and whisk constantly for approximately 1 1/2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the heavy cream until no lumps remain.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and continue whisking the heavy cream mixture until it thickens and bubbles (approximately 8 minutes).
- Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente and drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, remove the skillet containing the heavy cream mixture from the heat.
- Add cheese by the handful, stirring with each addition. Allow each handful of cheese to completely melt before adding more.
- Once all of the cheese has been added, season the sauce with the Dijon mustard, garlic salt, black pepper, and hot sauce.
- Place the skillet back over medium low heat and stir in the drained pasta, taking care to mix everything together thoroughly so the pasta is completely coated with sauce.
Since this meal is so rich, it’s best to pair it with a simple green salad. And, going along with the “inspired by Panera” theme, we served our salads with a Panera salad dressing.