This simple macaroni and cheese recipe is made with Beemster Cheese, Chorizo and Sun Dried Tomatoes. You're going to love this one!
I've said it before and I'll say it again. In fact I'll scream it from the rooftops. One of the amazing perks of being a food blogger is becoming friends with other foodies.
Those foodies become your inner circle, your peeps, your homies, if you will. The sense of community is amazing amongst food bloggers.
So, when one, or in this case two, of our own go on to do great things, like write an amazing cookbook about macaroni and cheese you want to rally around and help spread the word.
Such is the case with Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese written by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. This book changed my life.
No lie. I'll get to that but first a little back story.
Stephanie is one of my foodie peeps. I adore the woman. She's hilariously funny, wickedly talented and just the most supportive, thoughtful person.
She's the kind of gal who even though she's busy she will email you to offer you help when you want to beat the tar out of your email service provider. She emails to say hello and check in on you. She has your back when your nerves get frazzled in life, as nerves tend to do in life. I've been lucky to get to know her and count her among my foodie homies.
When Stephanie emailed me to see if I'd like to take a peek at her new cookbook she wrote with Garrett McCord I jumped at the opportunity.
Stephanie is my homie and I adore her. And Garrett is like a food blogging superhero who I quietly stalk so I don't reveal what a dorky fan I am. Oops, busted! *insert dorky grin here*
So here's what Stephanie doesn't know. I have never, and I mean never, in my entire life (and it's been a pretty long one thus far) made mac n cheese from scratch.
I'm totally not kidding. I've only experienced the blue box version so up to this point in my life I've always told people I hated mac n cheese. However my family loves it, but they also only know the blue box.
So, I politely agreed to review the book without filling her in how sceptical I was that I'd like it. Well, colour me surprised folks.
There's a whole new world out there waiting to be explored. And it's paved with macaroni, cheese and the tears of all those missed years of enjoying home-made mac n cheese in all it's glory.
I had no idea. My world will never be the same. I have Stephanie and Garrett to thank for that.
The cookbook is not only beautiful but it's filled with loads of information so you learn your way around a good mac n cheese. They explain the importance of salt and cheese, how the salt added at different stages affects the taste.
Also they explain whether or not to remove the rind and help the reader understand the differences between soft cheeses and hard cheeses, and everything in between. There are tips on shredding, storing, choosing, and experiencing cheese.
They also delve into different types of pasta. Tips on choosing alternate cheeses abound, as well as wine pairings, and food pairings.
The book is a wealth of knowledge for mac n cheese newbies like myself, and I'm quite certain even the most discerning macaroni and cheese lovers as well.
I have to admit I'm stumped how their photos are sheer perfection in the book. Cheese is not easy to photograph.
The timing has to be perfect, the cheese has to be melted perfectly, and you need to make sure it didn't break in the cooking process. It's a fine art and these two executed the shots beautifully every single time.
For my post I chose to make their Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham and Sun Dried Tomatoes.
The problem is I live in boonie-land. I swear it's the culinary black hole. Finding ingredients for dishes like this can be difficult. After much searching I realized I would have to substitute some ingredients. I never panic. That's life in a small town. You deal, you move on.
I found some aged beemster, a friend thought it might make a good substitute. She's a fellow Canuck and knows our brands are a bit different on this side of the border.
Also, I could not find serrano ham, so I picked up Prosciutto and also some Chorizo as a back up plan. I could not find creme fraiche so I made my own.
It's what us small town folks do. If you can't find it, improvise. So I did. And the results were fabulous.
How to Reheat Mac n Cheese
Mac n cheese reheats beautifully!
Reheating in the Oven:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Transfer mac n cheese to a baking dish.
- Add some milk to the mac n cheese. The general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of milk per 1 cup of mac n cheese. Use a spoon to mix the milk so it's combined well.
- Top with a little more shredded cheese, if desired.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how much you are reheating.
- Remove the dish from the oven and transfer to plates or bowls.
Reheating in the Microwave:
- Add milk and mix well. The ratio most people use is 1 tablespoon of milk per 1 cup of mac n cheese.
- You can add extra cheese if you like.
- Place the dish in the microwave and cook for one minute. Stir and depending on how much you are reheating you may need to place it back in the microwave. I recommend checking it every 30 seconds after the first minute.
- Remove and serve.
Reheating on the stovetop:
- Transfer the food to a saucepan and add milk to it. You will want to add 1 tablespoon of milk for every cup of macaroni and cheese. Mix well.
- If you want to add some extra shredded cheese you can do so now.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until the food is hot. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on how much you are reheating.
- If you find the macaroni and cheese too thick add more milk a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Remove from stovetop and transfer to bowls.
More Dinner Recipes:
- Roasted Red Pepper and Italian Sausage Pasta
- Sloppy Joe Casserole
- Easy Steak and Peppers
- 10 Easy Recipes for Leftover Chicken
- Mac n Cheese
- Sesame Chicken
- Hussy Pasta
- Seafood Chowder 2.0
Places to stalk Cravings of a Lunatic
Macaroni and Cheese
- 8 ounces penne noodles
- 1 pound Garrotxa or Beemster cheese shredded
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup creme fraiche I made my own
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- ⅓ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 ounces Serrano ham slices torn coarsely by hand into chunks ( I used Chorizo, but proscuitto is a good option for small town Canucks)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook your penne noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. (my rule of thumb is usually minus one minute from the package directions in most cases) Drain the noodles. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cheese, milk, creme fraiche and butter. Cook until the cheese is mostly melted and looks like a creamy sauce. To keep the cheese sauce from breaking you can remove the sauce from the heat a little bit before it's entirely melted. Season it with pepper to taste.
- Butter a shallow casserole dish. Toss the pasta with the ham (chorizo in my case) and sun-dried tomatoes. Pour the sauce over top of the pasta. Stir till combined.
- Pop in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove and serve with a big old I Love Steph and Garrett's Mac n Cheese smile!
Thanks for visiting today!