I had been to friends house a year or so ago and they made Giada De Laurentis' mac and cheese and I remember thinking it was the bomb. So, I decided this would be my recipe... assuming it met my standards. It came out amazing.... even the husband agreed. I tweaked the recipe VERY slightly based on reviews on the Food Network website. (I added more flour and used small shells instead of egg noodles.) Here is the recipe!
- Butter, for greasing dish
- 12 ounces shells (or elbows)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
- 3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
- 4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.
Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Avery is at that age now where I can give her some of what I am eating (most of the time). She had some of this mac and cheese and was grunting for more! She has a cheese thing ... like her mom! It is a good thing that she likes it because this was my "test" run as I am planning on making this dish for her upcoming 1st Birthday. Why? It is parent and kid friendly, filling, and somewhat easy to prepare/cook. I am planning on making a couple big pans! One pan will be plain, but I will probably make a pan or two with some veggies in in (think peas or broccoli) and another with meat (maybe ham or sausage). There will be something for everyone! :) I have some good things in the works for Avery's Birthday... get ready! :)
Comfy Meatless Monday- enjoy! Until next time....xoxo