THANKSGIVING MENU SERIES: BAKED MAC & CHEESE with an HERBY BREADCRUMB TOPPING 🧀
O. M. G. We are starting out the side dish portion of the series with a BANG. I wanted to make a Mac & cheese that fixed everything I haven’t liked about them in past, and I think I nailed it. It’s delicious, it’s creamy, the texture of the topping is everything, and this baked Mac is ANYTHING but boring. you’re gonna love it.
For the pasta:
16 oz macaroni pasta
2 c whole milk
3/4 c heavy cream
6 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
8 Oz Cream cheese
Pinch of kosher salt
For the topping:
1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
¾ c panko bread crumb
½ c French fried onions, crushed
1/4 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp butter melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8 in cast iron or baking dish. Boil your pasta & cook until 1 min before Al dente. Drain, set aside and drizzle with olive oil so they don’t stick together.
Melt the 6 tbsp of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, then sauté garlic for 20 seconds. Add in Dijon mustard and cream cheese, and lower heat until it’s all melty. Separately warm through up milk/cream, then one handful at a time, throw in cheeses and a little milk then stir. Repeat that until all the cheese & milk is gone. Add in cayenne, salt and pepper then taste to make sure it doesn’t need adjustments and whisk well.
Add in mac pasta into the cheese sauce, then stir. Pour that into greased dish. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheddar on top.
To make the herby topping, combine Panko crumbs, French fried onions, herbs, garlic powder, pecorino, salt + pepper and melted butter. Stir and sprinkle over the top of the Mac. Bake for 20 min or until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately!