Instructions & Ingredients

by Jamie Krause

Ingredients:

Cook time including prep: 45 mins – 1 hour

Serves: 4-6 (4 as a main dish, 6 when served as a side)

Cheese sauce:

  • (halve if using to top vegetables)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. cream cheese
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 3/4 c. grated mild cheddar
  • 1/4 c. grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/3 c. grated Grana Padano
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne (1/8tsp. for mild spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 3/4 c. pasta water (a tbsp. at a time as needed)

Toppings:

  • Finely grated parmesan
  • Chopped parsley
  • Diced jalapeños (optional)
  • Ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. First things first: let’s do some prep. Put your pot of water on to boil, but don’t put your spaghetti in until the cheese sauce is halfway done. I’ll let you know further down the recipe. If your water comes to a boil before we get there, just cover it and turn it down to medium until we’re ready. Pre-grate all of your cheeses, measure out your spices, and get all of your ingredients laid out before you start cooking. Once we start the sauce, you’ll need to keep your attention on the pan. It’s very easy to burn cream sauces if you get distracted.
  2. Start by melting down your butter over medium-low heat, being careful not to brown. The key to this dish is low and slow, baby.
  3. Add your cream cheese to the pan in cubes. They’ll melt faster and more evenly this way.
  4. Cover over medium-low until the cubes are easy to mush down.
  5. Next, slowly add your whipping cream, whisking constantly. Make sure it’s silky smooth with no curdles before you move on to the next step.
  6. Now the real fun begins! Add your Grana Padano, whisking until melted. Grana Padano is basically a nuttier version of Parmesan, that has a smoother melting point. But don’t worry, we add some classic Parm at the end.
  7. Now is probably a good time to toss your noodles in.
  8. If you turned the pot of water to medium, turn it back up to high, and once it’s at a rolling boil, cook according to package instructions (about 8-10 minutes). Be careful not to overcook.
  9. Next, whisk in your ground mustard and cayenne. I know, mustard sounds weird in mac ‘n cheese – but trust me, you won’t even notice it. It just helps pronounce the cheese flavours more. The cayenne adds a little colour and kick.
  10. Add your grated mild and sharp cheddar cheeses, whisking until melted. You might be tempted to use only sharp cheddar, but I would advise against it in a sauce. Sharp cheddar is fantastic on top of baked mac ‘n cheese, but I find it overpowers the other flavours when we use it in a multiple cheese sauce. Plus, mild cheddar melts much smoother, and that’s the key to this dreamy dish.
  11. Melt, melt, melt!
  12. Once your sauce looks like this, it’s done! If you’d like it a little thinner, add 3/4c. of pasta water to the sauce, whisking in a few tbsp.’s at a time. Don’t worry, this won’t water down the flavour – if anything, it makes it even smoother to eat.
  13. And hopefully we timed that out just right for the spaghetti to be done, too! Stir it all up, and serve immediately.
  14. Serve with fresh ground pepper, fresh parsley, and a few diced jalapeños if you like a kick (like I do!).

Perfect creamy comfort food. Sometimes that’s all we want! I find this dish best served on the couch, with a Disney movie (and a buddy!).

See full blog post by Jamie Krause here. 

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