Ms Fatty’s Kinda Awesome Four Cheese Mac ‘n’ Cheese

First of all, I must apologize for the pictures. It’s not because I’m a horrible photographer, I am, but I took these shots quickly while cooking for Thanksgiving. I didn’t stage anything, I didn’t even stop to think about angles or lighting. I just pulled out my camera and when my hands weren’t busy, fired off a few shots. I’m going to say something kinda blasphemous, I’m SO OVER MAC ‘N’ CHEESE!!!! No seriously, I just can’t look at another macaroni. I’ve made this dish 4 days in a row for 4 different Thanksgivings and frankly I’m all cheesed out!! Of course I say this now, let’s wait another month and I’ll be craving for it again. Ugh I’m such a fickle beast. This isn’t any ordinary mac, it boasts not 2, not 3 but 4 different cheeses, a crunchy breadcrumb topping and it’s a white mac! Shall we begin??

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 lbs Elbow Macaroni
8 tbsp Unsalted Butter, (or 1 stick) divided
1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
4 cups Whole Milk, warm
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard (or 2 tsp dried mustard)
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
3 tsp Dried Oregano, divided
1 tsp Dried Thyme
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne (optional)
2 cups Gruyère Cheese, shredded
1 cup Provolone Cheese, shredded
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded and divided
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated and divided
1 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt
Black Pepper
Pasta Water (optional)

METHOD:
1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil

2. Melt 6 tbsp butter in a large pot over Medium heat.

3. Dump in flour and whisk whisk whisk!! Cook for 2-3 mins to rid of raw flour taste. Roux should be lightly brown

4. Slowly add warm milk and whisk to prevent clumps. Add nutmeg, mustard, 2 tsp oregano, cayenne, thyme, garlic and onion powder. Bring to boil and allow to thicken. Man look at that bechamel sauce! Gorgeous!

5. Turn heat to Low and start to whisk in Gruyère cheese a handful at a time, allowing to melt completely before adding more. Repeat with Provolone, 1 cup Mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Add a few pinches of salt and lots of black pepper.

6. When the water is boiling, add enough salt so it taste of the sea and dump in your macaroni, cook according to package directions but pulling it out the water 2-3 mins before fully done. Strain and pour into cheese sauce. I like to ladle in a few ladles of the salty starch water into my cheese sauce. About 1 cups worth. This step is optional.

7. Mix mix mix, but gently! Allow all the pasta to drink in all that cheesy saucy goodness

8. At this point I would not blame you at all if you dipped your spoon in a few times to taste, You are human after all! I mean the “real” purpose is to check for the salt levels right? Mmmhmm, that’s what I tell myself as I eat half the pot.

9. Butter a baking dish with the remaining 2 tbsp of butter.

10. Ladle Mac n Cheese just half way up then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. Now ladle the rest in, covering up all that middle cheese layer.

11. In a bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, olive oil, black pepper, 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1 tsp oregano.

12. Sprinkle over every inch of that gorgeous Mac n Cheese!

13. Bake until bubbly hot, about 35 min. Crank heat up to 425 and bake another 10-15 mins until the breadcrumbs are nicely toasted.

COOKING NOTES:
1. Don’t like baked Mac n Cheese? It’s perfectly fine as a stove top mac! Just don’t forget to sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top for that extra flavor boost
2. Stove top breadcrumbs: Mix ingredients and toast in a skillet until nicely browned.
3. I like to save some pasta water on the side, if the Mac comes out a little dry, I can add some pasta water and keep it creamy dreamy.

Hmmm what should I do with all this Mac n Cheese I have leftover?? I could stand there and eat it straight from the pot. Instead I got a small baking dish and packed it up and froze it for my sister so she and her family can have a quick week night meal. I know.. I’m such a thoughtful big sister! Seriously!

Ahhh how gorgeous does that Mac look nestled in the center of attention of our Thanksgiving table? My sister made the turkey, she insisted upon it. It came out so fantastic for being her first time, incredibly moist and juicy! Since I have so many pictures on this blog as it is. Did I tell you what I ate for Thanksgiving??

Plate #1: Mac n cheese, ham, turkey (dark meat please!) w/ cranberry sauce, bacon onion green beans (recipe coming soon!), garlic mashed potatoes w/ turkey gravy.

Plate #2: Filipino Spaghetti, more green beans, ham and biscuit.

Plate #3: DESSERT!! Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel w/ whipped cream.

Yea.. I was pretty stuffed!

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