Wall Of Chefs ‘The Winning Mac & Cheese’
4 of Canada’s top chef’s got to taste it.. so I want you to taste it too! The mix of cheeses is really important here, all of them combined produce a tangy, creamy and lucious grown-up version of a classic. Bacon is optional, it is equally as great without. Oh and vegans, I got you with a cashew based version below! If you have the time, making your own breadcrumbs from leftover sourdough bread is worth it. Simply throw bread into a low temp oven, around 300’ and dry it out for about 20 minutes. Blitz in a food processor or smash in a bag to resemble the size of breadcrumbs.
1 450g bag of any short pasta such as cavatappi, macaroni, orecchiette etc
4 tbsp butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 small onion - finely minced
1 garlic clove - finely grated or crushed
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dijon mustard or mustard powder
4 cups whole milk - room temperature
¼ cup goat cheese - crumbled
½ cup parmesan - finely grated
1 cup sharp white cheddar - grated
1 cup gruyere - grated
1 cup fontina - grated
1 cup aged, smoked or regular gouda - grated
1 cup sourdough or panko breadcrumbs
Pre heat oven to 400’
If using bacon, add to a skillet and fry until crisp and fat has rendered out. Remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add a large pinch of sea salt (about 1tbsp, you want your pasta water salty like the sea!) Boil pasta until slightly undercooked., just before the al dente stage. Follow the directions on the package cooking time and minus a minute or two. Save 1 cup of pasta water, drain and set aside to cool.
Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add your minced onion and saute until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add your finely minced garlic, paprika, mustard and cayenne. Sautee a minute more. Sprinkle flour over and cook, whisking constantly until it starts to bubble and “cook out” you want to cook the raw flavor out of the flour. This is called a roux. Add room temperature milk in one cup additions, whisking to combine after each addition. You now have a bechamel sauce.
Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer while you add your cheeses. Add by handfuls at a time while continuing to whisk. Stir in bacon (is using) salt to taste (about ½-¾ tsp) and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove from heat and add your pasta. The mixture may look runny at this point, but trust me.. It will soak up that sauce almost immediately! If you like your mac and cheese on the more gooey side, add some of the reserved pasta water.
Pour mac and cheese into a suitable sized baking dish and top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes until sauce is bubbling and oozing around the edges and everything is golden brown and delicious!
Did you know this recipe can be made Vegan?
Check out the modified recipe below!
The grocery list is not updated with these vegan version ingredients. Ignore the regular version ingredients and make a list of what you need for this one!
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 10 min
Total: 30 min
300g of any short pasta such as cavatappi, macaroni, orecchiette etc
4 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter - divided
½ cup finely minced white onion
2 cloves garlic - minced or finely grated
1 cup raw unsalted cashews - soaked in 2 cups of water (20 min or up to overnight)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp dijon mustard or mustard powder
¼ cup + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast - divided
1 cup sourdough or panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp fresh thyme - minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre heat oven to 350’
Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water (a large pinch about 1tbsp, it's very important to have pasta water salty like the sea!) save 1 cup of pasta water, drain & set aside.
Saute onion and minced garlic in olive oil or vegan butter. Season with salt and pepper. Separately, put the cashews and the water they were soaking in, garlic powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, ½ tsp salt and ¼ cup of nutritional yeast into a blender. Add in the sauteed onion mix and puree until very smooth and creamy.
In a small bowl, combine and mix breadcrumbs, chopped thyme, remaining 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooked pasta and your cashew cream sauce. Add ½-1 cup of your pasta water and stir again. The sauce will look thin but this is okay as the noodles will continue to bake and absorb the sauce! Transfer this to a suitable oven safe baking dish and garnish with the crumb mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to brown and sauce is bubbling.