When life (or Kerrygold) gives you lots of butter and cheese, the obvious choice is to make a soul-warming, cozy dish of homemade baked macaroni and cheese.
I am not lying when I say I have a lot of butter and cheese. After a long run in the most bitter of temperatures on Thursday, I came home to a big box that included this.
Yes, 20 bars of Kerrygold butter! And 10 blocks of various cheeses, Kerrygold shopping bags, and a gorgeous Newbridge silver cheese knife. How nice is that?!
I will be picking a winner for the Kerrygold giveaway tonight, so enter and spread the word if you haven’t already!
To make my mac and cheese, I consulted a few online recipes for technique and timing. I wanted to make sure I made the cheese sauce properly without making it clumpy.
I started with a few cups of whole wheat rotini.
While the pasta was boiling, I wrapped 6 garlic cloves in foil and popped it in the toaster oven at 400 for about 20 minutes, until I started smelling garlicky goodness.
Then I got to shredding the cheese. I used a mix of Dubliner and Aged Cheddar. Yum.
The base of my sauce was a quick roux, a mix of butter and flour cooked unti light brown in a pan. To that I added stuff I had left from baking adventures, 1/2 cup of light cream and about 1/2 cup heavy cream. After stirring the cream and roux and making sure it wasn’t lumpy, I added a scoop of Dijon mustard for some extra flavor.
I also grated in a bit of nutmeg, always a great addition to cream sauces. When the garlic was soft enough and cool to the touch, I squeezed it out of its skin and mashed it into the cream.
And at long last, I added in the grated cheese, stirring slowly on low heat to make sure it melted evenly and really blended into the sauce.
The cooked pasta got the royal treatment when I added it to the simmering, bubbling bath of cream and cheese. What could be better?
I poured the pasta into a buttered glass baking dish and topped all of this with Panko bread crumbs that had been mixed with a bit of melted butter in a frying pan on low heat.
Popping it into the oven for 20 minutes at 350 was all it needed for a golden breadcrumb crust. . .
And piping hot bubbly cheese. . .
The roasted garlic, mustard, and Panko really give this mac and cheese a bit of sophistication and make it an ideal dish for a potluck, family dinner, or even as a workday lunch. Add a green salad, and you have a pretty complete meal!
I am already thinking of the lobster meat I have in the freezer for next time. . .
What is your favorite kind of mac and cheese? Do you have a special cheese you like to use or any fun additions?