Mascarpone Mac and Cheese
Mascarpone Mac and Cheese is a new twist on a traditional comfort food. It’s super tasty and even simpler than traditional macaroni and cheese.
Confession – I’m a big kid and I love macaroni and cheese! Even when I make the kids a box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese I always sneak a bite. There’s just something so pleasurable about mac and cheese that I just can’t resist. And I bet I’m not alone. I’ll make an educated guess and say that I’m not the only mother out there who loves a big bowl of smooth, creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese.
So over the years I’ve made macaroni and cheese a variety of ways, but basically each time I started out the same, with a roux. A roux is quite simple; it’s equal parts fat and flour melting together in a pan. In this case it’s butter and flour. Then you slowly whisk in milk to make the béchamel sauce and for macaroni and cheese, you stir in the cheese. Usually I add a grated shallot with my butter and flour and a pinch of nutmeg with the milk. Sometimes I’ll add a pinch of cayenne and I’ve experimented with a variety of cheeses, pasta shapes etc. Sometimes I serve it right off the stove; sometimes I’ll bake it in the oven like my mom did when I was a kid. But no matter which way I make it, macaroni and cheese is always satisfying and always so delicious.
The other week I looked in the fridge and spied mascarpone cheese. I wasn’t sure what I should do with the rest of it and since I don’t like to waste, I was determined to use it that day. That is how I developed this Mascarpone Mac and Cheese. I read online that you could replace the rue in macaroni and cheese with mascarpone. I was immediately intrigued. A new way to make macaroni and cheese – now I know it’s “cheesy” but that made me excited. My kids love macaroni and cheese so I heard no complaints when I served dinner. And to my delight, my new macaroni and cheese was delicious. My daughter said it was one of the best she’s had. Now that’s saying something!
And the great thing about this Mascarpone Mac and Cheese is just how simple it is. It barely takes anytime at all which is just wonderful for a weeknight dinner. But it doesn’t feel like you took any shortcuts, it’s so cheesy and rich.
Next time I buy mascarpone it’ll be for this dish or maybe to top baguette slices — a little cheese, fig spread and rosemary. It’s really tasty and a makes a pretty appetizer. But that’s for another day.
What are your favorite ways to use mascarpone cheese?