A creamy macaroni and cheese recipe that will satisfy both young and old made with Kerrygold cheese and butter from grass-fed cows. This mac and cheese reheats beautifully the next day with just a bit of milk or cream stirred in.
Ole pointed out a few weeks ago that our children were growing up with a different food experience than either one of us had. Things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese lunches and daily desserts are not the norm over here. Rather than growing up on lunches made from blue boxes and smeared on sandwich bread, our kids are generally dining on leftover fried rice, sandwiches made from leftover meat and a variety of soups and pastas, which do, in fact, include macaroni and cheese every so often.
So, when our Costco recently started stocking their shelves with Kerrygold products, I felt inclined to share one of my favorite macaroni and cheese recipes with you. When the Irish Dairy Board formed in 1961, the result was a coming together of small, independent dairy farmers selling their cheeses under the Kerrygold name. Loaded down with a few of my favorites, I was ready to serve my family the macaroni and cheese they were apparently lacking in their diet. Ahem.
The secret to this mac and cheese is in the farmhouse cheese that goes into the sauce. Rather than using a larger amount of butter and flour to make a classic roux, it starts with a smaller butter-and-flour ratio and uses the farmhouse cheese to help thicken the sauce instead.
Start by cooking the pasta just to al dente. Overcooked pasta and a thick, creamy sauce are a no-no.
While the pasta cooks, get ready for the sauce by shredding the cheese. I used a combination of Red Leicester and Dubliner, which is basically a medium cheddar and an extra sharp white cheddar. In a small sauté pan or frying pan, sauté a minced shallot in a bit of butter. Set both aside.
Once the noodles are ready and drained, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and then whisk in flour and cook for a minute. When the flour is golden brown, whisk in milk and the farmhouse cheese, which is a crumbly white cheese. (Note: You can substitute cream cheese here for the farmhouse cheese for a similar creamy texture to the sauce.) Once the cheese is melted in, stir in your pasta.
Stir in the Dijon, black pepper and a pinch of salt and stir in the sautéed shallots. Continue cooking for a few minutes while the mixture thickens. Once it is thick, melt the shredded cheese in a handful at a time.
We served the macaroni alongside a steak salad for Kiera’s 11th birthday dinner, and the next day the kids enjoyed leftovers for lunch with giant smiles on their faces. Perhaps it won’t be quite so long until we make it again.
Kerrygold did not compensate me for this post. They don’t even know who I am. I just know who they are and wanted to share my love of their grass-fed, hormone-free products with you. You’re welcome.
3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
6 ounces farmhouse cheese (Duhallow, can substitute cream cheese if you can’t find it)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
pinch of salt
1 generous cup shredded medium cheddar cheese (Red Leicester)
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar (Aged Cheddar or Dubliner)
Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and set aside. In a saucepan or larger sauté pan melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add in shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes until tranlucent. Remove from pan and set aside.
Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Quickly whisk in the flour and continue cooking, whisking continuously for 1 minute until the flour starts to brown. Slowly whisk in the milk. Stir in the farmhouse cheese, mustard, black pepper and salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shallots and then the cheese a handful at a time, allowing it to melt in before adding the next handful. When all the cheese is melted, add the pasta and stir.
Remove from heat and serve.
Tip: To reheat, stir in a tablespoon of milk or half and half for every 1 1/2 cups of macaroni before heating.
Makes 5-6 servings.