Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Garlic-Herb Mac and Cheese

Several years ago when I used to do a lot of baking, I used to get the King Arthur Flour Catalog and also frequented their web site and baking forum (Baking Circle). At the time, I purchased many fine quality products from them as well…they are an excellent company. I now receive their newsletter which always contains at least one recipe, along with a link to their interesting and informative blog, Baker’s Banter.

A few weeks ago this recipe for Garlic-Herb Mac and Cheese was in the newsletter. I thought it looked good, so copied it for later use. Tuesday, I was planning to reheat some leftovers for Michael and me to have for dinner, but wanted something new and decided to try this recipe. I had already purchased most of the ingredients, with the exception of the special items that the King Arthur Flour Company carries, and made substitutions or omitted those….I also doubled the recipe.

This recipe was written to fit a 2 quart casserole dish.

8 ounces uncooked pasta (elbows (about 2 cups) trumpets, rigatoni, ditalini, cavatappi, ziti... anything tubular)
1/4 cup Signature Secrets Culinary Thickener or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup Vermont cheese powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste (1/4 to 1/2)

4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic oil, optional
2 teaspoons Pizza Seasoning or rosemary and thyme
1 1/2 cups Japanese panko (coarse bread crumbs)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four 1 1/2 to 2-cup ramekins, or one 2-quart baking dish.
2.  Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (slightly firmer than you would normally eat it). Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
3.  In a large saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the Signature Secrets, or flour, milk, and cheese powder. Bring to a boil.
4.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and seasonings. Stir occasionally, until cheese is completely melted.
5.  Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce. Spoon it into the baking dish(es).
6.  Melt the butter and garlic oil together, then stir in the pizza seasoning and panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle a thick layer over the pasta and cheese.
7.  Bake the casserole for 25 to 35 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven, and serve hot.
8.  5 1/2 cups, about 4 servings.

I made a few changes to the above recipe:
I doubled the recipe for a 9x13 pan
I used all-purpose flour that I had on hand, although, King Arthur Flour can be purchased at many supermarkets.
I couldn't find any Vermont Cheese Powder, or cheese powder of any kind, anywhere and didn't have time to order it from the King Arthur Flour Co. so I simply omitted it.

Cook pasta, drain, rinse and set aside.

Whisk together flour, milk and, if you have it, cheese powder and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. I used a sharp cheddar by Cabbot.

Add pepper

Add mustard.

Stir in pasta.

Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

Melt butter and oil together, stir in pizza seasoning. Fortunately, there is a Penzeys Spice store not far from Michael's apartment and I purchased the Pizza Seasoning from them.

Mix in panko bread crumbs.

Sprinkle crumb mixture over pasta and cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven.

This smelled so good while baking that even though I didn’t feel hungry before I put it in the oven, I was by the time I removed it. It was very good….the bread crumb topping was a little crunchy and had a garlic and spicy flavor. The only thing I was disappointed in is that it didn’t taste as “cheesy” as I would have liked…maybe the addition of the cheese powder would have made the difference, or possibly a little more cheese could be used. We liked it enough that I will definitely make it again, but will be ordering the Vermont Cheese Powder before I do.

Printable Link for Garlic-Herb Mac and Cheese

*** Update*** since my original posting, I've made this recipe using the Vermont Cheese Powder and the cheese powder made all the difference.....it was delcious!  At Michael's request, I've made this several times since then.


Patti T. said...

That Vermont Cheese powder is so so good on popcorn. Your pictures are always so good on your blog. Feel like I could almost smell your mac and cheese.

Shane T. Wingerd said...

Oh that was torturously delicious looking!!! I have been craving Mac & Cheese for the last 2 weeks.... I must make some

Unknown said...

this sounds and looks wonderful!! I always have a hard time getting that nice good cheesiness unless I use velveeta. I bet that powdered cheese would do the same (although I've never tried nor seen it except in the "blue box")

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