Good Ole Mac & Cheese

In The Trust two characters visit a local eating establishment that is, or was, known in Charleston as a place to get a “Meat and Three.”  You get meat and three vegetables.  Think comfort food.  Think fried chicken, meat loaf, hamburger steak, cabbage, mashed potatoes or mac & cheese.  The next few recipes are my versions of meat and threes.

I believe every cook should be able to whip up a high calorie, high fat, high quality, delicious, mouth watering mac & cheese.  This is my version of just that.  Beauty of it is you can vary with different cheeses (as I have here) or keep it traditional.  Experiment and have fun!  This recipe feeds approximately 8-10 so adjust accordingly.

Ingredients 
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 Cups Whole Milk
Salt
½ Teaspoon of White Pepper
1lb  Pasta (experiment you don’t have to use elbow noodles)
2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Smoked Gouda Cheese
1 Cup + ½ Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese 
½ Cup + ¼ Cup White Cheddar Cheese 
¼ Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Cook the Pasta.  
In heavily salted water cook the pasta al dente.  Note – with the salted water and salt in the cheese, be careful on adding extra salt.  Set aside covered when done.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cheese Sauce
Grate all cheeses setting aside the extra cheddars. 
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat.  Add the flour and combine.  
When combined, slowly whisk in the milk.  Stir constantly to avoid scalding.  When mixture starts to bubble, begin adding all cheeses except reserved cheddar.  Reduce heat to low and stir to combine cheeses. Add Worcestershire and white pepper.  Stir.
 
Combine the pasta and cheese sauce in the pasta pot and stir till pasta is covered.  Pour mixture into lightly greased 9×13 pan.

In 350° oven bake for 30-45 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble around sides.  Remove from oven and evenly cover with the extra cheddar.  Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.  

Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Variations

If you replace ½ cup of the milk with heavy cream – WOW!!! If there are other cheeses you like, have at it.  Try goat cheese and rosemary.  Yum!
Varying the pasta is also a nice twist.   
You can make it a bit less unhealthy by using lower fat ingredients, but what’s the fun in that?
For those that like some spice, you can add a teaspoon of Tabasco or other hot sauce to kick it up when you add the white pepper.  
As an interesting twist make crumbs of Cheetos in a food processor.  Combine ½ cup of Cheeto crumbs with the extra cheddar at the end of baking for a pleasant crust. This works nice with potato chips too!

Have fun!

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