What is it about macaroni and cheese that makes it taste so darn good? It must be the macaroni; it must be the cheese. It must be the fact that when mixed together, magic happens. That’s gotta be it. Although simple and seemingly plain, its sheer versatility adds much to its appeal. Tucked away in many traditions are countless varieties on what we claim is the best mac and cheese recipe ever. If you tell me this, I’ll believe you.
I love mac and cheese because it yields to creativity and many times it works. Once, a friend added steak from last night’s dinner into the mix, sprinkled fresh mozzarella on top, popped it in the broiler for a few minutes and served it with fresh diced tomato. Oh my goodness. My heart melted. Possibilities? They’re endless. From cheddar cheese to gruyere and bleu, one’s favorite mac and cheese is really, a personal thing.
This is by no means a recipe for ‘the best mac and cheese ever’, but it is a good place to start, especially if you like cheddar and Swiss cheese. This version highlights their piquant flavors, which is balanced quite nicely by the cream cheese. Expect a burst of sharp, creamy flavor – definitely the kind you won’t get from say, velveeta-type cheeses, which are much much milder. Mix in crispy chopped bacon and serve for dinner? Ohhh, you’ll make new friends.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 box cooked pasta; whatever macaroni your prefer
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup swiss cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
salt, pepper, and parsley for garnish
Step 1. Cook pasta, following directions on box, then drain when cooked. Leave the pasta in the same pot.
Step 2. On medium-low, add the cream cheese, swiss cheese, and cheddar cheese in small quantities. Mix until evenly combined then add more. Then sneak in a few bites of cheese. I won’t tell.
Step 3. Continue until all cheese is evenly mixed and melted. There’s something about the way swiss cheese melts that I love. The stringy quality – there’s nothing quite like it. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and taste, and taste some more. Done!
But don’t feel compelled to stop here; sauteed onions and polska kielbasa, broccoli and bacon, chicken and sundried tomatoes, hamburger and…it’s enough to keep me up for hours. But if you enjoy the simple things, I won’t hold it against you.
Make your own perfect mac and cheese. Then share it with me.
This version has a tendency to dry out after popping leftovers in the fridge since the recipe calls for solid ingredients only. Heating it thoroughly with a splash of cream or milk however, restored the macaroni back to creamy goodness.