Originally, I planned to make macaroni and cheese as a side dish for my southern-inspired Easter dinner. But. The Kid got The Barfs, we cancelled dinner and I was left with pounds and pounds of cheese.
Two weeks later, I was confronted with either making this as planned, making a bunch of cheese-heavy dishes, or letting it all go bad. I opted for the first, but with a twist. In addition to all of the cheese I had purchased for Easter, I used some of the leftover cheese that I had either cooked with or had been hanging out in my fridge. When it was all said and done, there were 10 different cheeses involved.
Now, it’s not like each of them added something to the flavor profile, but they all added to the dish. Mozzarella and Gruyere made it gooey, goat and manchego added some earthy flavor, the sharp cheese were, well, sharp, the mild cheeses did the binding, and the Romano cheese at the end brought just enough saltiness to the dish where you could get away with lightly salting the pasta water.
What comes out is a dense, pasta and cheese dish that is nothing like the Founding Farmers specialty that I used as my guide. FF’s cheese base is thinner and more like a sauce. This was very much like the mortar that binds bricks together. It was beautiful.
Sure, 10 cheeses and 11 tablespoons of butter seems like overkill, but go big or go home, right?
WHAT WORKED: I have this enormous Pyrex mixing bowl that I had only planned to use as a work bowl. As I saw how much stuff would go into this, I decided to bake everything in that. If you don’t have an oven-safe bowl, use a roasting pan. A foil disposable roaster will work just fine. Also, I bought shredded cheese. I usually don’t, but there is so much cheese involved here that you could spend more time shredding each cheese by hand than cooking.
WHAT DIDN’T: Hot cheese burns. Thank you.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Medium.
BEST FOR: When you feel as if your calcium and saturated fat intake are too low.
SERVE WITH: A fork and a big glass of water. Anything else would just take space away from the mac and cheese.
Ten-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Based very loosely on The Founding Farmers Cookbook: 100 Recipes for True Food & Drink from the Restaurant Owned by American Family Farmers, by Founding Farmers and Nevin Martell, Andrews McMeel Publishing (2013)
- 11 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
- 4 cups milk, divided
- 3 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 cup seasoned flour (using my MYO Pan-Searing Flour blend)
- 8 oz. shredded gruyere
- 2 oz. goat cheese
- 1 lb. dry elbow pasta
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
- 3 oz. manchego, diced
- 4 oz. shredded mozzarella
- 4 oz. shredded asiago
- 4 oz. shredded Monterrey Jack
- 8 oz. muenster cheese, diced
- 1 1/2 cups panko
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and butter a large roasting pan with 2 tbsp. of butter. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to two minutes less than al dente. Drain pasta well, add to a large mixing bowl and let it cool.
Add 3 cups of milk and 2 cups of heavy cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a bare simmer. In a separate smaller saucepan, melt 5 tbsp. butter over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, whisk in the flour vigorously to make a roux. When it thickens, whisk in the gruyere and goat cheeses, followed by the milk and cream mixture. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat.
Add the cheddars, manchego, mozzarella, asiago, and muenster cheese. Toss again so that the cheese is evenly distributed. Set the pan on a baking sheet, and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
With about 10 minutes to go in the baking, melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the panko. Toss to coat in the butter, then toast until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Add to a small mixing bowl and mix with Pecorino Romano cheese.
Remove the mac and cheese from the oven and break up the top crust with a heavy spoon. Sprinkle the top evenly with the panko and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the finished dish from the oven and let stand on the counter for 5 minutes to rest.