I debated going healthier with it (and trust me, I've created a recipe for that, too) but ultimately said "screw it, the people want mac & cheese dammit!" So this is my super creamy, super indulgent, super cheesy version full of all the good stuff you crave (minus the gluten...but you can use glutenous ingredients just the same).
Fast forward - it's an almost 50 degree rainy Sunday. Sure the temperatures dropped to freezing by the end of the night, but it wasn't quite the snowstorm we had been hoping for. Snow or not it was still a great meal shared with some of my favorite people and well worth the excuse to eat a little "unhealthy" for a night (we had roasted broccoli on the side, too, which felt redeeming enough). Kylie and Lauren got along great and we hung out for hours drinking wine and having conversation. My roommate's cat even hopped up on the couch with us at one point for some selfie opportunities. All in all, it was exactly how I saw the night going minus the snow.
This recipe uses King Arthur Gluten Free Measure-For-Measure Flour and Bionaturae Gluten Free Elbows. I HIGHLY recommend these brands for this mac & cheese (and yes, this is me saying this completely honestly, this is not a sponsored post). Of the four of us who ate I am the only [now] GF one and literally none of us "could even tell" it wasn't good ol' gluten. You CAN, however, use regular all-purpose flour and/or regular elbows. The recipe will work exactly the same!
Prep Time: 10-20 minutes (depending on if you shred cheese or buy pre-shredded)
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes (depending on preference)
Servings: 5-6 as a meal, 10-12 as a side
You Will Need:
- 12 oz gluten free elbows (I used Bionaturae) or regular elbows
- 6 TBS salted butter
- 6 TBS gluten free flour (I used King Arthur's Measure-For-Measure) or regular all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk, brought close to room temp
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, plus more to sprinkle
- 1 block (8oz) cream cheese, room temp, cut into 8 chunks
- 1 1/2 cup smoked gouda, shredded (plus more to sprinkle, optional)
- 2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (plus more to sprinkle, optional)
- ground oregano, to sprinkle
- fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the elbows as per package instructions (and don't forget to put plenty of salt in the boiling water!). When just about al dente, take off heat but do not drain just yet (this will help pasta not to stick as you continue to make cheese sauce).
- Meanwhile, get the rest of your ingredients together mise-en-place style (measured out and ready to go) - mac & cheese happens fast. Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard seed powder, and smoked paprika can be combined in a small dish.
- Make a roux! Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and constantly whisk until incorporated and turned brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- While continuing to whisk, add the milk and whisk until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
- While continuing to whisk, add spices. Add cream cheese and whisk until fully melted. Add half the gouda, whisk til melted, and add the rest of the gouda, again whisking until melted. Finally, add the cheddar cheese in two parts just as you do the gouda. When fully incorporated, turn off heat.
- Drain the elbows (but do not rinse as you want to keep some starch to make the sauce stick to the noodles) and toss them into the pot with the cheese sauce, stirring to coat. It will seem like A LOT of cheese sauce, and it is, but it is meant to look like this at this point.
- Pour the cheesy elbows into a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle any extra grated cheese, oregano, and paprika on top. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until desired amount of crispness along the edges is reached.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh parsley on top. Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!