Cheesy Macaroni & Cheese
This creamy & cheesy macaroni and cheese recipe is cheap and easy to make. It doesn't require hours of work from you outside of having to shred the cheese yourself. It's the perfect comfort food recipe!
- 2 lb Cavatappi
- 1/2 stick Earth Balance Butter
- 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Half & Half
- 2 cups Buttermilk
- 3 cups Mild Cheddar (block of cheese, not pre-shredded)
- 2 cup Vermont Cheddar (block of cheese, not pre-shredded)
- 2 cups Colby Jack (block of cheese, not pre-shredded)
- 2 cup Monterey Jack (block of cheese, not pre-shredded)
- 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
- 1 tsp Dry Mustard Powder
- 1/4 cup Reserved Pasta Water, optional
- Cooking Spray, for spraying
- Olive Oil, for pasta
Before you begin to make this recipe, start shredding all of your cheese. Do not use pre-bagged cheese. If you do not have time to shred each block of cheese, add your cheeses to a food processor and allow the food processor to shred the cheese for you.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish (I recommend a lasagna pan) with cooking spray. Using a paper towel, wipe off any excess cooking spray.
Boil your pasta according to instructions on the package. Remember to salt your water, the water should have enough salt so that it tastes like the ocean. Once done, save 1/4 cup of the water from the pasta and then drain. Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
Heat a dutch oven or pot to medium/high heat and add your butter. Allow the butter to foam for one minute.
Once the butter has foamed, add your flour to the butter. Stir until a paste has formed. Once the paste has formed, allow the butter and flour to combine and cook for one minute.
After the butter and follow has formed a paste, add one cup of half & half/buttermilk at a time and whisk. Continue to whisk until it thickens. Once the milk has thickened, add your seasonings. Continue to whisk. If the roux is way too thick for your liking, add a little bit of pasta at a time to receive your desired texture. I don't add the pasta water since I like it thick.
Reduce the heat to medium/low heat and then proceed to add your cheeses. Begin with adding 2 cups of mild cheddar and then whisk, 1 cup of Vermont cheddar and then whisk, 1 cup Colby of Jack and then whisk, and 1 cup of Monterey Jack and then whisk. Continue to whisk until the color of the roux has changed from white to yellow. Taste the sauce and see if you need to some more of the left over cheese.
Once all of the cheese has melted, add your nutritional yeast. This part is optional, but this adds an extra cheesy flavor to the macaroni. Turn the heat off once everything has combined.
Add your cavatappi to the baking dish and then proceed to cover the cavatappi with the cheese sauce. The cheese sauce should cover all of the pasta. Top with all of the left over cheese that you have. The cheese should completely cover the pasta.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Wait 10-15 minutes before serving.