I have yet to serve this to a soul who does not end up LOVING this recipe. Seriously, my biggest mac n cheese critics have all walked away asking for the recipe. In all honestly it’s not too far off from every other mac n cheese recipe out there– BUT there are a few secret ingredients that you may be missing when your making your mac n cheese. First…obviously….is about the cheese…
You can add all the different variety of cheeses you want, and they’ll taste incredible, but for a real mac ‘n cheese experience the cheddar HAS to be SHARP cheddar cheese. Mild cheddar cheese is, well…just that. mild. It’s too mild. By the time you add it to a roux, and milk, and noodles the cheddar flavor has disappeared. ALWAYS use sharp cheddar cheese.
Secret #2, boil your noodles in broth! (I will sometimes just use bullion to flavor the water) Boiling the noodles in a nice salty flavorful broth will transfer into your noodles, creating a delicious base for everything else to be covered on those bad boys.
It’s called Zebra mac n cheese because of the fanciful striping of the cheddars. White, orange, white, orange. Kids and adults quite love it, I swear!
- Serves 10
- 1-pound elbow pasta, cooked in equal parts chicken stock and water, or all chicken stock - this is a must!!
- (For the sauce)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 4 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper
- (For the topping)
- 1 cup grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes (this is called a roux). Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth. When the milk begins to steam, whisk in the cream cheese until smooth.
- Turn off the heat and add the cheddar, stirring until melted and smooth. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste
- Put the macaroni into small, individual fry pans or ramekins. Top each ramekin with the yellow and white grated cheeses, alternating each to create a striped 'zebra' pattern.
- Place the ramekins under a broiler or in a warm oven until the cheese is just melted. (Don't let it sit too long, or the cheese will run together).
- Cook it on 350 for about only 15 minutes, then put the oven on broil for just a few minutes to brown the top....it's the best part!! Now go make it!