The Richest Mac (Rotini) and Cheese
Oh boy! oouey gooey cheesy crispy deliciousness. I think God exists.
WHAT YOU NEED
1 lb rotini
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz muenster cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter - divided (4 + 4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 1/2 sleeves of Ritz crackers
salt for the pasta water and pepper to taste
HOW TO DO IT
Cook the pasta according to instructions - make sure the water is salty to season the noodles. Cook until just al dente.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
While the pasta is cooking, grate the cheeses and mix with mustard powder.
Crush the crackers and place in a bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter and mix well to create a wet crumb.
Drain the pasta, add 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter (cut in pieces) and mix well.
Start adding the cheese - a little bit at a time and mix until melted - adjust the consistency with milk. For me, it took 1/2 of a cup.
Once it's the consistency that you like, pour into a baking dish (9x13" or can be smaller), top with the cracker crumb, and bake until crispy - about 15 minutes.
Let cool slightly and enjoy!
Let me start with a shocking sentence - growing up in the Czech Republic we never had mac and cheese! Not because my parents didn't allow us to have it, but because it's not a thing back home. I was introduced to it when I first arrived in the United States, and boy was it worth waiting for! I don't know anyone who doesn't care about mac and cheese. It's comfort food at its finest. There is a good reason why college students snack on it late at night :). This recipe is inspired by my good friend Anthony whose mac and cheese is the best I have ever had. This is my homage to Anthony and all those times we ate it. I am happy to say that this recipe does not require you to make a roux and a bechamel as the base of the cheese sauce - I find that it adds unnecessary heaviness to the dish. And trust me, if there is one thing mac and cheese doesn't need it's heaviness. This is a super simple recipe that requires hardly any time and is absolutely delicious. Now, I did say it was delicious, but I didn't say it was healthy. But let's be honest - no one pretends that mac and cheese is healthy, right? Following Anthony's lead on this, I am using rotini instead of the more traditional macaroni to maximize cheese coverage of the noodles :).