Thanksgiving is just a mere week away. A celebration of gathering, sharing food, and being thankful for the bounty of the year. It is a carb-laden celebration that features pie as the staple dessert. I mean pie! C’mon, how can you not be excited about a holiday that traditionally comes with pie! This post however is nothing about pie. Sad, but true – but, wait! There is mac-n-cheese. Which is the golden kind of carbohydrate side dishes… or main dishes for that matter. We love this cheesy pasta, just about anyway you could serve it up. So much that twice a year for holidays for gatherings I try new ultimate, world’s best, cheesiest, or other grand recipes. Always in search for the one. Guess what folks? Last Easter I found it. It took a mirepoix of cheeses, if you will. The result though an intensely cheese, creamy, and fluffy mac that doesn’t disappoint on round one and reheats perfectly. Since several measurements come up to 16 ounces or factors thereof, I named this golden goose of a recipe: 16 Carat Mac.
It’s side dish gold, people. Special occasion and ultimate title worthy. You can even sub the block cheese for a personal favorite to make it milder, sharper, and/or spicier. I like a flexible recipe, because lets face it my best ever and yours just might not be the same and that is okay. Especially if you have cheesy carbs to eat while contemplating your opinion. But, either way be prepared this is a cheese forward dish, with a little more cheese on top.
16 Carat Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces large elbow macaroni noodles,
cooked per package instructions
- 16 ounces (2 cups) milk
- 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
- 1 jar (15 ou) Cheese Whiz
- 16 ounces block cheese
(monterey, cobly, mild/sharp cheddar or other)
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon each,
white pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard powder**Note I don’t add salt, cheese can be rather salty, but please
taste and salt as you wish.
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375.
Prepare noodles per package instructions. Transfer to a x-large buttered baking dish once cooked al dente and drained thoroughly.
Meanwhile prepare cheese sauce: in a medium-large saucepan combine milk, spices, Velveeta, and Cheese Whiz. Whisk over medium to medium-low heat until melted through and incorporated. Using a tempering method of choice, add 2 beaten eggs to mixture; set aside for assembly.
Toss with 8 to 16 ounces of shredded cheese (any kind pepper jack, Monterey, sharp cheddar, etc.) I like to do this while the noodles are hot and it starts melting the cheese. Not necessary… but smells great and why not?
Pour cheese sauce over; and top with bread crumb mixture, optional. (A combination of panko, melted butter, and garlic (optional))
Bake in hot oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden and pasta is bubbly and browning around edges. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.
The only mac and cheese I like better than this golden beast is the Souffled Mac we made during Pesto Week. That might really be a reflection of the pesto bread crumb topping… maybe I should combine these two and sub the block cheese in with grated Gouda. Who knows? But, I know one thing – my desire and continued experiments with macaroni and cheese will probably never end. But this recipe is the one I serve to those I love when I want guaranteed results.
Cheers and Happy Cooking during the Holiday Season,