Recipe 53: Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese

My last recipe was my 52nd, which was my original goal for my challenge. Maybe I should have made a bigger deal out of it, but since I didn’t actually make it in time to complete my challenge, it didn’t seem like as big a deal to me. But isn’t it amazing the diversity of mac and cheese recipes out there?

This has gotten me into trouble lately. I’ve been going through my bookmarks and even new recipe pages, trying to find more recipes to try out. I’m once again trying to get a little fitter and spend a little less money, but buying all kinds of cheeses for one recipe doesn’t exactly help either. Can you blame me, folks? When I have recipes with mushrooms and Brie, cheese fries, and mostly blue cheeses, a girl’s resolve can weaken. Blue cheese mac and cheese!

I love blue cheese unapologetically. I know it has a certain aroma that not everyone can appreciate, but there’s something about that creamy, moldy goodness that to me tastes like savory with just a slight tang of sweet. It works on salads, chicken wings (in the form of dressing), and steaks. And, perhaps, mac and cheese? Let’s see.

Blue Cheese Mac and Cheese (from How Sweet Eats)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat mini elbow noodles (I used corn elbows)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
  • 8 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 8 ounces buttermilk blue cheese, crumbled
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
  • chopped fresh herbs for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Bring water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of the cooking time. (since gluten-free noodles are temperamental, I boiled mine for the full length required to cook them thoroughly)

While pasta is boiling, heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once sizzling, add flour and whisk constantly to create a roux, until golden and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Pour in milk and whisk constantly, stirring until the mixture slightly thickens. Reduce heat to low and add in 6 ounces of the fontina, all of the gorgonzola and about 6 ounces of the other blue. Stir until cheese melts and sauce is thick. Taste and season with a bit of salt and pepper if desired. (I wish I had a good camera, because the sauce was really blue here)

Add noodles to the baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over top, tossing to coat all the noodles. Sprinkle remaining fontina and blue over top evenly, then cover in breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden and crunchy.

 

Verdict: 3/5

If you remember the chicken wing mac and cheese, I’ve had a little blue cheese in macs before, but never enough for the full sauce.  As you might expect, you really need to like blue cheese already to get the full experience of this mac, although surprisingly the fontina did come through stronger than I anticipated.  One unexpected bonus was the fact that the top and edges got incredibly crispy; this was best enjoyed when it came out of the oven, as it wasn’t nearly as crispy when warmed up in the microwave.  Loverman was not terribly impressed with the mac, but I have a feeling it was his usual complaint that it could use chicken.

You may have noticed the last few macs have had either a low quality picture or no picture at all.  That’s because my camera has died, leaving me with my iPad as my main way to document what these macs look like.  Would you like to help?  Let me know!  I’d be incredibly appreciative.

Advertisements

Recipe 52: Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese

When you go gluten-free, whether by choice or by necessity, you end up missing out on a lot of things. Some are things that it’s probably better to do without, like the majority of a fast-food menu. Some are little indulgences you don’t even think of until you can’t have them anymore.

Regular bagels are one of those indulgences.

Don’t get me wrong, there are companies that make gluten free bagels. But I can’t just go to the local bagel joint and pick up a quick meal, nor can I grab my choice of flavors from the bag brought home for the family over the holidays. It’s not one of those things I moon over constantly, but I do feel a slight twinge of sadness when I can’t partake.

Luckily for me, the genius at The Food in My Beard has my back. An everything-bagel mac and cheese? Um, yes!

In preparing to do this recipe, I found two companies that make a gluten-free everything-bagel. I used the one made by Udi’s, as I’ve had their plain bagels and enjoyed them. Katz also makes one. If you know of others, drop me a line!

 

Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese (from The Food in My Beard)

Ingredients

  • 12 oz cream cheese (1 and a half packages)
  • 8 oz fontina cheese (our grocery store didn’t have any, but a quick search said you can use provolone, gruyere, or gouda as a replacement; I used gruyere)
  • 8 oz jack cheese (I assumed this meant monterey jack)
  • 1 cup cream (I used Half-and-Half)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I never saw where this went in the recipe, so I left it out)
  • 12 scallions
  • 2 white onions
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoons poppy seed
  • 1.5 tablespoons sesame seed
  • 2 everything bagels
  • 1 pound elbow pasta (I used corn elbows)
  • pecorino romano

Directions

Chop the onion and garlic. On a large baking sheet mix the onion and garlic with a small amount of oil and salt. Bake at 350, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy. Should take about an hour at least. When just about browned, mix in the sesame and poppy seeds, and cook another 5-10 minutes to lightly toast.

Mix together the cream, fontina, jack, and cream cheeses. Chop the scallions and add to the mixture.

Boil some salted water and add the pasta. Mix and cook. When the pasta has a few more minutes of cooking time, scoop about 1/2 cup of pasta water into the cheeses. Mix well to get everything to start melting. Finally strain the pasta and add it. Mix well and all the cheeses should have melted and formed a sauce.

Pour into a baking dish. Mix in the cooked everything bagel spice mixture(you may not want all of it in there, use discretion and taste). Finally, toast the bagels and food process to crumbs. Use this mixture as breadcrumbs on top of the pasta. Also top with pecorino romano. Bake at 500 for about 10 minutes until bubbly, browned, and delicious.IMG_7387

 

VERDICT: 3.5/5
One downside to this recipe is mine, not the original chef’s: I toasted my gluten-free bagels twice and they still wouldn’t crumble. I ended up tearing them into pieces, but it was more like croutons than bread crumbs. I kind of picked them off the top and ate them separate from the mac itself. If you can have regular bagels, this will probably work better for you.

As for the main bulk of the recipe, you better be sure you like onions and scallions and garlic, because the flavor is pronounced. In fact, despite the fact that this is a mac and cheese, the seasoning was much more pronounced as a flavor than the cheese sauce. This is not a bad thing, but keep this in mind.

I asked Loverman what he thought of the recipe. He gave it a simple “not bad,” then proceeded to have seconds.

 

Hey!  I finally made it to 52 recipes!  Have a recipe I would try out? Let me know!