Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese is one of those recipes that can take on so many different forms.Trust me people will be begging for more with this one. The 3-cheese combo mixed with spices and the Champagne Vinaigrette bakes into the ultimate gooey, creamy pasta dish.
The higher ratio of sauce to noodles and that final bake in the oven delivers the perfect saucy and molten consistency. Yes, the Velveeta is necessary - it helps keep the sauce from separating in the oven and makes reheating a cinch.
My mouth is watering just thinking about this voluptuous dish!
1pound elbow macaroni
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, coarsely grated (5¼ cups)
8 ounces Velveeta, torn into pieces
4 ounces Pecorino Romano, coarsely grated (1 cup)
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
2 tbsp Champagne Vinaigrette
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until just past al dente. Drain and set aside.
Return the empty pot to the stove and set over medium heat. Melt the butter and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the butter stops spurting and quiets down, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth like gravy, about 1 minute.
Whisk in the milk. Raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, then immediately reduce the heat to low and continue simmering until the sauce lightly coats the back of a spoon, 2 to 5 minutes. At this stage, the sauce should be smooth but relatively loose. Take the pot off the heat.
To the pot, add the Champagne Vinaigrette, Cheddar, Velveeta, Pecorino Romano, mustard powder, onion powder and cayenne, and season generously with salt and black pepper.
Whisk until the cheese is melted and smooth. Add the drained pasta, breaking up any clumps, and stir until evenly coated in the cheese sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or dish and bake until bubbling at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.