Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese?!?! If you’re lactose intolerant I completely understand, but can’t relate. This recipe is one of my most requested recipes from friends and family members after I’ve made it for gatherings. This is another recipe inspired by a trip to Fleming’s Steakhouse. They have an identical side item that became a go to accompaniment to a perfectly cooked steak. I figured why not try to duplicate it at home when we do steak night date nights in?!? This is a dish you can make ahead of time and freeze, then bake off when ready. This is also a dish you can make ahead of time and keep the pasta and cheese separate and refrigerate when ready. You’ll want to mix them together before you bake and the cheese will melt into the pasta. I like to bake off individual mac and cheeses for either lunch or another side item for the next few days that week.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 lb Pasta (cavatappi or curly)
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
3/4 Cup Onion, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 Cup Unsalted butter (1stick)
3 Tbsp Flour (All Purpose)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
3 Cups Half and Half
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
3/4 lb Cheese, freshly shredded (I recommend 1/2lb white cheddar 1/4lb gruyere)
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 tsp Dried chipotle powder (chipotle chili powder)
3/4 Cup Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven 350 degrees
In a large pot bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta and cook for 8-9 minutes or as directed for al dente.
Drain pasta and cool under cold running water. Pasta should be slightly firm. Toss drained pasta in oil and reserve.
Melt butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes but do not brown. Add cream, half and half, kosher salt, and white pepper. Bring pot to a simmer. Cook until sauce is thick, about 5-6 minutes. Blend cheese into sauce and add cooked pasta.
Pour pasta and sauce into a 9×12 baking dish. Reserve.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat add oil and chipotle chili powder. Heat for 30 seconds until pan starts to smoke. Remove from stove and stir in bread crumbs. If you have kids or don’t like it spicy, you can skip this step and just sprinkle plain panko breadcrumbs over pasta and drizzle with oil.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the pasta and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly before serving. You can also put under broiler for 3-5 minutes for a golden top.
**I halved the recipe for just Scott and I, as seen in the pictures. The full recipe is great for family, potluck, or parties as a side dish.