Last year, while trolling the internet I came across a recipe from The New York Times for Mac and Cheese. It claimed that it was the creamiest and cheesiest Mac and Cheese out there. At first I was shocked that I was only discovering the recipe right then and there. You see the NYT published the recipe years prior. I quickly read through the recipe and thought it was a lot of cheese (but who doesn’t like cheese???). Reading further I was even more interested because you bake the whole dish…no prior pasta cooking needed. I have always wanted to give one of these one pot pasta dishes a try. That was it, I was on a mission to make it. So on a cool day last year I through the ingredients together and in the oven it went. (Uncooked pasta and all.) After it was done baking I pulled it out of the oven to cool. I was mesmerized by the way bubbled and stared at it’s steam escaping as it rested on my stove top. I found it hard to resist, because I desperately wanted to dive a fork in at that moment. I prevailed I used my will power and held out until it had cooled.
The result - it was fabulous! It was tender, cheesy, creamy, deeply flavorful, and the top of it created this fanatic cheesy crust giving it the right amount of texture. I have told so many others about this recipe and the ones who have tried it out report back on how great they think it is as well. I personally like to pair this with a simple green salad or some steamed veggies. You do not want to pair it with anything too boldly flavored given the richness of this cheesy dish. That aside, I have made this twice this past month. The left overs have been just as good! This is quite possibly my go to Mac and Cheese recipe from now on!
Creamy Mac and Cheese (Serves 6)
*As published in The New York Times
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not low fat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked (I have had success with whole wheat pasta as well)
First, heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use
one tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan. (I tend to use a
ceramic 9 inch pie dish)
Next, in a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and
pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine
remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan,
cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
Then, uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining
tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned.
Finally, remove from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.