Mac & Lots of Cheese

NYT mac cheese 1 Mac & Lots of Cheese

I apologize in advance for the photos, which don’t do justice to the deliciousness of this M & C.

NYT Mac Cheese 7 Mac & Lots of Cheese

Thankfully, the winter solstice is coming, and then we’ll start to see more daylight after 4pm.

So this mac & cheese. It came from a book I’ve had by my bedside for months, that I finally picked up the other night and read a story out of. It’s a compilation of the best food writing of 2006 (probably the year I put it beside my bed), and the story I read on this particular night was written by Julia Moskin for the New York Times. (I have to say – I like her photo better. More cheese?)

The difference between this particular recipe and the bazillion of other macaroni and cheeses out there: you blend up the cheese and milk and then bake it with raw macaroni, rather than boil the noodles and mix up a white sauce with loads of grated cheese in it, which is apparently not so much true mac & cheese as it is macaroni with cheese sauce. Makes sense, no?

NYT Mac Cheese 2 Mac & Lots of Cheese
NYT Mac Cheese 3 Mac & Lots of Cheese

The process was easy: blend, mix, bake.

NYT Mac Cheese 4 Mac & Lots of Cheese

I had my first doubts when I pulled it out of the oven to uncover it, and it was foamy. No lie.

NYT Mac Cheese 4.5 Mac & Lots of Cheese

After the second stir, it didn’t look promising. It was oddly lumpy, and the macaroni noodles, which were still dense and leathery after an hour, had sunk to the bottom and were working on fusing themselves to the casserole dish.

NYT Mac Cheese 5 Mac & Lots of Cheese

But I persevered in the interest of all that cheese, and it managed to work itself out in the end. After a few dabs of butter and a couple extra stirs, it came together like a cheesy Christmas miracle.

NYT Mac Cheese 6 Mac & Lots of Cheese

Next time, I’ll open the oven and give it a stir more often. We ate it topped with a scoop of chili – a fab winter combination, if you haven’t tried it.

NYT Mac Cheese 8 Mac & Lots of Cheese

An extra handful on top to reinforce that cheesy crust is a good idea. Being as it’s Christmas and all, I might even crumble in one of those Imperial packs of extra-sharp cheddar next time, or try a pound of Grizzly Gouda. So worth the cheese spend.

Mac & Lots of Cheese

Adapted from Julia Moskin in the New York Times, January 2006

1 cup cottage cheese (not low fat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 tsp. dry mustard (optional)
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. aged cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb. elbow pasta, uncooked (2 1/2 cups)
a small knob of butter (about 1 Tbsp.)

Preheat the oven to 375F and butter a casserole dish or baking pan.

In a blender or food processor, puree cottage cheese, milk, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into the pan, cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover the pan, stir, dot with butter and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. If you like, sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and you have a nice cheesy top crust. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

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December 13 2012 05:14 pm | cheese and one dish and pasta and vegetarian

20 Responses to “Mac & Lots of Cheese”

  1. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche on 13 Dec 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    You had me at ‘lots of cheese’. This looks amazing!

  2. Vincci on 13 Dec 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    I remember you posting your doubts on Twitter! So happy that it turned out! Now I’m intrigued…

  3. supersu on 13 Dec 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    looks great – but how long did it take to clean the pan!
    yikes….
    i think i’ll use a disposable tin

    thanks for the recipe – looks like just what i need for a potluck this weekend

    cheers
    su :)

  4. Manon from Ontario on 13 Dec 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Will try this tomorrow for sure….thanks ;)

    MFO

  5. kickpleat on 14 Dec 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I totally love this idea. Lots of cheese please :)

  6. heather on 14 Dec 2012 at 4:44 am #

    Yum. Looks delish! Thanks for sharing. I too am counting the days until the solstice. 7 more.

  7. Lana on 14 Dec 2012 at 8:14 am #

    I have never thought of topping mac and cheese with chili. What a great idea! And not having to boil the pasta first? Brilliant. One less pot to wash!
    This will be perfect over the holidays for lying-around-watching-movies kind of days.
    Thank you!

  8. Heather on 14 Dec 2012 at 9:49 am #

    This looks delish – though I am pretty committed to Janice Beaton’s recipe (published in Canadian Living), made with a blend of Gouda and Esrom (very stinky, in a good way).

    I have a tip for cleaning that casserole dish. I keep a spray bottle of undiluted vinegar in the kitchen for all kinds of cleaning tasks. Just rinse/scrape the pan as best you can to clear the stuff that easily comes off, spray thoroughly with vinegar, let sit for half an hour, then attack it with hot water and a plastic scrubby. The vinegar really loosens the crud.

  9. Darcel on 14 Dec 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Hey Julie!! What a coincidence—I tripped across this recipe a few weeks ago, being in the mood for comfort food.

    I have a big wedge of Stilton from Costco for a few holiday recipes and I snuck some of that beautiful blue into the mix (just a few crumbles.) It was great with the cheddar, and my family didn’t notice, or at least didn’t complain!!

    Cheers to NOT having to boil the macaroni!! Happy Holidays!

  10. Misty on 16 Dec 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Mmm…true comfort food! And I’m a big fan of the Chili and Mac n’Cheese combo. Or the fresh cracked black pepper and Mac n’Cheese combo. Or the ketchup and Mac n’Cheese combo. Yes, I love Mac n’Cheese!

  11. Kate on 17 Dec 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Hi Julie, I made this yesterday, and it was wonderful! Also, to Supersu – cleaning the pan wasn’t that big of a deal, I soaked it in hot soapy water, scrapped the bits off, and put it in the dishwasher… no problem at all!

    Yumm, thanks Julie – for this recipe – its a keeper!

  12. Theresa on 17 Dec 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Hey Julie,
    Do you think this would work in the little frou-frou ramekins?

  13. JulieVR on 17 Dec 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Ooh – good idea! It might.. although if it’s all edge, it might not cook properly.

  14. JulieVR on 17 Dec 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Kate – good to hear! I left the dish at my sister’s (not intentional!) so I have no idea how much work it was to clean out!

  15. Randi on 22 Dec 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Hey Julie,

    Just pulled the Mac and cheese out of the oven… My mouth is watering as I let it rest.

    You mentioned that your photo was not as nice at the one from NY Times… I think the NYT photo is of the other recipe “crusty Mac and cheese ” rather than this recipe ” creamy AC ad cheese”.

    Also… Your photo is great! Made me want to eat it up!

  16. Jennifer M on 06 Jan 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    This is probably one of the best recipies I’ve ever made for macaroni and cheese. Turned out perfectly! Thanks for sharing

  17. JulieVR on 09 Jan 2013 at 9:38 am #

    So glad to hear it!

  18. Kate on 08 Mar 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Hey there.. My MIL is on Weight Watchers, and I so want to make this for Sunday dinner, but can’t deal with the comments ‘OMG so many calories’ etc..

    Anyone out there have any idea how many points one serving of this wonderful amazing recipe would be?

    I want to be armed with information as I bring it to the table… grin!

  19. Julie on 08 Mar 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Kate – sorry, I don’t know how to calculate WW points, but maybe someone does?

  20. Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese » Dinner With Julie on 22 Feb 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    […] about it, make b├ęchamel with a roux) and add big handfuls of grated old cheddar to melt. But this macaroni with lots of cheese went about things differently, amalgamating pasta, butter, milk and cheese into one delicious unit, […]

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