MACARONI and CHEESE RECIPE
Macaroni and cheese is a dish traditionally made up of just a few ingredients and can be likened to many simple Italian recipes, but today “Mac and cheese” is widely known as a quick meal prepared from one box (using very artificial ingredients) and it’s definitely something that sends shivers up the spine of Italians, including me! In this recipe, I will show you my own version, a true Italian macaroni and cheese – and let me tell you, this dish will make you say ‘Mamma mia!’ thanks to its delicious taste, creamy texture and cheesy ingredients. Would you ever go back to using packet Macaroni and cheese pasta again?
1½ packet of short pasta which is 750gr (ex. penne, shells, rigatoni, fusilli)
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Always choose a high-quality, short pasta for Macaroni & Cheese. You can tell a high-quality pasta from a commercial brand pasta from the color. A high-quality pasta will have a lighter, tan color which indicates that it is made of quality semolina and dried in low temperatures.
1 glass full cream milk (200 ml)
100g (3.5oz) butter
100g (3.5oz) taleggio cheese (or a creamy cheese like brie, gorgonzola, or blue cheese)
120g (4.2oz) buffalo mozzarella
140g (5oz) provolone
6 tbsp pecorino romano (or Parmigiano Reggiano)
1tbsp of sea salt
Cast iron casserole baking dish
Large pot (for boiling pasta)
Salad Bowl (optional)
- To start with, add 5L water to your pot and put it on the stove to boil.
- In the meantime, slice provolone into small cubes and set it to the side until the end.
- To cook the pasta, once the water boils, add a tablespoon of rock salt (let it dissolve) then add 1½ packets of your pasta of choice and cook al dente.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Do not overcook the pasta. Make sure it is al dente so that it will not be mushy after it is cooked in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Stir the pasta every so often so it does not get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, you can start to make the cheese sauce.
- Place a cast-iron casserole (or something similar that can be put directly into the oven) on the stove at a low heat and add 100g of butter, letting it melt.
- Once the butter has melted, add 1 glass of full cream milk along with 100 grams of taleggio (or your creamy cheese of choice) to the mixture.
- Scoop up a mug full of starchy pasta water and add it to a bowl with 6 tbsp of pecorino cheese. Mix this together until it becomes creamy and dense.
- Strain the pasta and add it into the cast-iron casserole then gently mix the pasta with the cheese sauce.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: You can also mix the cheese sauce and pasta in a salad bowl if you need more space to work with – this will also help to make sure your pasta is completely smothered in the sauce.
- Add the pecorino cream into the pasta, then break apart 120g of buffalo mozzarella (using your hands), and add it to the pasta.
- Add more pasta water to combine the cheese and pasta and mix everything together.
VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Toss the macaroni and cheese in the salad bowl as you would toss a salad to make the mixture even creamier. Trust me; you won’t regret it!
- Add the pasta back into the casserole and top it with grated pecorino romano. This will make the pasta crunchy after coming out of the oven.
- Top the pasta with cubes of provolone cheese, adding as much as you want! I added 140g of provolone cheese.
- Finally, bake the macaroni & cheese in the oven for 25 minutes at 180°C or 356°F.
HOW TO SERVE:
Now that the hard part is over, it is time to enjoy your delicious meal! Use a large serving spoon to scoop up a portion of this cheesy mac and cheese and place it on a plate. Let the crispy cheesy top of your creamy pasta be a beautiful symbol of your culinary accomplishment and get ready to try the tastiest macaroni and cheese of your life.
If you want, you can even add a little bit of pecorino romano or parmesan cheese to the top of your freshly cooked macaroni and cheese – just in case there’s not quite enough cheese yet!
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!
Here are 2 more Italian-American recipes I want you to try…Of course they are made the Italian way
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