Mac & Cheese

This weekend we made the trek down to the Whole Foods in Winter Park, FL. It's a pretty long drive (45 minutes to an hour) so we don't get the opportunity to go frequently. When we do it's usually because we are out of one thing - CHEESE. 

You see, the markets around our home have a very limited variety of specialty cheeses. They usually offer a few goat's milk options and maybe one sheep. Of course, I like Feta and Pecorino and Chevre, but sometimes you just need some variety.Whole Foods has a wonderful cheese selection for those of us that can't handle cow's milk cheeses. Plus, they let you try them, so when we are looking for something that tastes like cheddar, we can get a sample and Nick can let me know how close it is (since the last time I had cheddar was...hmm..)

So, naturally, this week (with our fully stocked cheese bin) we had Mac & Cheese on the menu. Here's what you'll need:

3 tbsp flout
1 tbsp mustard powder
3 tbsp butter
3 c milk (we use 2 c cream and 1 part water)
1/2 c onion, diced
1 or 2 bay leaves
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg
1 lb pasta
1 c panko bread crumbs
1/2 lb Pata Cabra (a goat's milk cheese, very soft), diced into cubes
1/2 lb Cacio de Roma ( a sheep's milk cheese, soft), grated and divided
3 tbsp butter 

Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees and get a pot of water going on the stovetop. On low heat, melt the first 3 tbsp of butter. Once melted, add in the flour and mustard powder. Whisk into a rue. Once the rue is together and has been heating for about 5 minutes, add in the milk, onion, bay leaves, paprika and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and continue at a simmer  for 10 minutes. Then, add in the egg slowly, being sure to temper it and mix into the sauce so that it doesn't cook and scramble. 


Add the 1/2 lb of Pata Cabra and 1/4 lb of the Cacio de Roma. While the cheese is melting into the sauce, add your pasta to the salted water to cook. When al dente, drain and place into a glass baking dish.

In a separate pan, melt the remaining 3 tbsp of butter and then add the breadcrumbs. Toast until they are a golden brown color. At this point, the cheese in the sauce should be melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, top with the remaining 1/4 lb Cacio de Roma and finally, the toasted breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes and let rest before serving. 


Unfortunately, we were so hungry, and it smelled so good, that we dove into it before taking any pictures. So, you'll have to deal with a photo of our individual serving size that we are going to freeze, to see how well it does thawed and baked.

The photo of the individual serving is of the unbaked pasta. We'll let you know how it turns out when we decide to pull them out again!

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