My name is Courtney, and I’m addicted to mac and cheese. Okay, that might be an overstatement, but I honestly can’t resist a good macaroni and cheese recipe. If it looks remotely like something I’ll like, I’ll try it. I just can’t help myself. However, after trying this recipe, I don’t know that I’ll ever try another one. It was just that good. Plus, I love the fact that it’s made in a cast-iron skillet. It just makes this dish have a good, down home kind of feel. My grandmother makes biscuits in a cast-iron skillet, and Eric’s mom makes her cornbread in one (with bacon grease, because that’s just how we roll in the south).
I’ve posted a couple other macaroni and cheese recipes. The most recent one, with roasted garlic and white truffle oil, was a delicious and modern recipe. The first one was an easy and adaptable recipe that was tasty, but lacked the oomph of the other two recipes. This recipe stands on its own. With white cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano and goat cheese, how could it not? Sour cream and an egg yolk make this dish especially rich, while lemon zest (yes, you read that right) gives it a wonderful brightness I’ve never tasted in macaroni and cheese. The addition of fresh thyme, my favorite herb, gives the mac and cheese a wonderful aroma and flavor. The sweet onion is a welcome addition and adds texture to the pasta. Decadent is the best way to describe this dish, and I promise you will savor every bite of it. If you only ever make one recipe from my blog, I hope it’s this one. I know that’s a serious request, but this is easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
If you like wine, I think this dish pairs well with a crisp white wine.
Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
3/4 pound penne
1 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
5-ounce log goat cheese
3 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup packed freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
salt and white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
1 extra large egg yolk
-Preheat oven to 400º. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
-In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
-Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring heavy cream, onion and garlic to a simmer.
-Transfer 1/2 cup of the cream to a medium bowl and gradually whisk in flour; return mixture to saucepan. Set the bowl aside for later.
-Whisk over moderate heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.
-Remove from heat and whisk in goat cheese, cheddar and half of the Parmigiano until melted.
-Stir or in the sour cream, zest and 1 teaspoon thyme and season with salt and pepper.
-Add egg yolk to medium bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup cheese sauce. Whisk egg/sauce mixture back into saucepan.
-Pour cheese sauce over pasta and toss to coat evenly.
-Add pasta to cast-iron skillet and sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano. Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining thyme.
-Allow mac and cheese to rest for about 5 minutes (if you can stand it), then serve.
Serves 4 as an entrée
Adapted from Food and Wine, September 2010