All About the Cheese, Mac ‘n Cheese

This mac ‘n cheese couldn’t be more simple, or more cheesy. There’s no bechamel sauce to make, so the hardest part is grating the cheese. I highly recommend buying hunks of cheese and grating them yourself for this pasta. The dish is best when made with a mixture of gruyere and young manchego, which don’t come in pre-grated bags. Though, if you do not like those cheeses, you may substitute a good quality mild cheddar. It can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours, but don’t pour the milk over top until ready to bake. I often make this for the “kids’ meal” when having friends over for dinner, yet every time I do the adults circle around the dish after the kids have had their fill and polish it off. A real treat for all ages.

All About the Cheese, Mac ‘n Cheese

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
This mac 'n cheese couldn't be more simple, or more cheesy. There's no bechamel sauce to make, so the hardest part is grating the cheese. I highly recommend buying hunks of cheese and grating them yourself for this pasta. The dish is best when made with a mixture of gruyere and young manchego, which don't come in pre-grated bags. Though, if you do not like those cheeses, you may substitute a good quality mild cheddar. It can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours, but don't pour the milk over top until ready to bake. I often make this for the "kids' meal" when having friends over for dinner, yet every time I do the adults circle around the dish after the kids have had their fill and polish it off. A real treat for all ages.
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Course Main Course
Servings 6

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound pasta such as cavatappi or fusilli
  • 1 pound grated cheese, I recommend half gruyere and half a young manchego for best flavor, but you can substitute mild white cheddar for some or all
  • cup whole milk
  • pinch salt, plus more for the pasta cooking water
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the dish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 9 x 13” baking dish and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in plenty of salted water. Drain when the pasta is al dente – a few minutes shy of being totally cooked through.
  • Grate the cheese using the large holes on a box grater. Toss with the drained pasta, taste for seasoning (it will probably need a few pinches of salt) and place in the buttered dish. Pour the milk around the pasta, and cut 1 tablespoon of the butter into pieces and place evenly on top. Cover with a piece of buttered foil (so that the cheese doesn't stick to the foil when baking).
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil. Continue baking until golden. Serve warm.

Notes

  • This can be made ahead through step 3 and refrigerated until ready to bake.
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