I’m not going to lie, I was never a fan of Macaroni and Cheese because next to Tamil cuisine, macaroni just seemed so bland. However, I usually have a box of macaroni and cheese as a pantry staple because it makes for an easy meal when I have nothing left to give or no time. Even so, it was not until I started making this dish from scratch with good quality, real cheeses that Macaroni and Cheese won me over. When this infamous dish is made with quality, fresh ingredients, and doctored up with some herbs and spices, the kids really enjoy it and I find that I actually do as well. It is definitely about time that I shared this recipe.
Keep in mind, this recipe makes enough for an entire box of pasta. If it is too much, simply halve the recipe. This recipe as is, makes enough for two meals for my family of five.
Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese RECIPE
- 1 box of pasta (454g), cooked “al dente” and tossed in butter
- 4 Tbsp. real butter
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 3 cups of milk
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chilli flakes, Cajun seasoning, or smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp, Dijon mustard
- 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Havarti cheese, shredded
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium-heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring often with a wire whisk to prevent burning and browning.
2. Once the flour has been incorporated into the butter, add 1 cup of milk slowly while stirring. The mixture will thicken, continue to stir to prevent lumps and burning. Slowly add the rest of the milk followed by the heavy cream. Let the sauce come to a boil and thicken. The sauce is ready once it lightly coats the back of a spoon. Stir occasionally.
3. Once the sauce has thickened, add the chilli flakes, salt, and black pepper. Keep in mind, cheese has salt so add salt with caution. Turn off the heat and give the contents of the pot a cook stir. Slowly add the cheese while stirring. The cheese will melt and incorporate into the sauce.
4. Add the chives. Check the seasoning. Immediately toss in the cooked pasta. Serve warm with freshly cracked black pepper.
Optional: Place in a casserole dish and top with a 1:1 sprinkle of seasoned bread crumbs and shredded Mozzarella cheese. Broil in a pre-heated oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and bread crumbs are toasted.
– For a delicious Macaroni and Cheese, make sure to use good quality cheeses. Avoid pre-shredded cheeses as they are often coated in starch to prevent sticking.
– Sharp cheddar is necessary for flavour. Mozzarella and Havarti cheeses add creaminess. In the picture above, I used more cheddar and omitted the Monterey Jack for a darker sauce. In the feature picture, I used all four cheeses in the proportions mentioned, for a lighter-coloured sauce. Whatever cheeses you decide to use is up to you, however make sure to use both sharp cheddar and Mozzarella as part of the sauce.
– Always turn off the stove, and move the pot to another spot before adding the cheeses to prevent a grainy-textured sauce.
– If sauce becomes too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of warmed milk to the sauce and mix until the desired consistency is reached.
– Refrigerated Macaroni and Cheese will become hard, however once re-heated, it will return to the right consistency.
– Add vegetables such as broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, peas, or a protein of your choice for a balanced meal.