asiago mac & cheese

Asiago Mac & Cheese

Here is a mac & cheese dish all grown up! The robust flavors of asiago cheese are complemented with cheddar and a little paprika, salt & pepper.  If you aren’t familiar with asiago cheese it’s a little like parmesan except it has a nuttier / smokier flavor.  I’m a big fan!

asiago mac & cheese

asiago mac & cheese

To make this dish, I used a classic bechamel.  Here are some quick tips on how to make a stellar mac n’cheese:

1. Have your ingredients measured out and ready to go before you start making the sauce. It all happens pretty quickly so it’s a lot less stressful if you have everything set out.

2.  Use cold milk / half & half.  Whenever you use a roux, you want the additive to the roux to be cold if the roux is hot, or if the roux is cold (you can make it ahead of time and store it) your dairy or broth should be hot.

3. Stir, stir, stir! Making a cheese bechamel sauce doesn’t take much time, but it’s needs to be stirred pretty consistently to be sure that it doesn’t burn.  Some people also use a whisk to help eliminate any lumpiness.

4. Add Cheese gradually I am not sure exactly why, but if you add the cheese all at once the sauce can become grainy.  I think it has something to do with the sauce getting too cold to melt the cheese properly.

asiago mac & cheese

Asiago Mac & Cheese

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 17 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook macaroni to al dente according to package directions. You can start making the sauce while the pasta is cooking. When noodles are ready, drain and return them to the pan.
2. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium. Add flour, salt and paprika, and stir until a paste (roux) forms.
3. Slowly pour in milk and half & half while stirring; whisk or stir frequently until it comes to a boil. Add 3/4ths cup of the cheese mixture small amounts at a time while stirring. Continue stirring until sauce thickens, this should only take a few minutes.
4. Pour cheese sauce over noodles and stir to coat. Transfer to serving dishes and top with remaining shredded cheese and pepper to taste.

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