Blue Box Inspired Mac + Cheese
Why we love it:
- 1 pound Elbow Pasta (or other dried short pasta)
- 21⁄2 cups Cheddar Cheese (or a blend, shredded)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon Dry Mustard
- 1⁄4 teaspoon Onion Powder (optional)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon Black Pepper (optional)
- 1 head Romaine Lettuce
- 1 head Radicchio
- 4 Tablespoons Walnuts (optional)
- 1⁄2 Cucumber
- 1 Pear
- 4 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries
- 11⁄2 cups Whole Milk 1.5 cup whole milk (or half & half, divided)
- 1⁄4 cup Salad Dressing (balsamic vinaigrette recommended)
Bring a large pasta pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tablespoon kosher salt. Once boiling, cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the al dente package instructions. Before draining, scoop out about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, grate the cheese if needed. Add the teaspoon of salt, powdered mustard and onion powder and black pepper, if using. Set aside.
Wash, dry and then chop the romaine and radicchio; toss together in a bowl. Top with walnuts, sliced cucumber, sliced pear, and dried cranberries. Toss lettuces with salad dressing to taste.
Once the pasta is drained, add the milk to the pot and set it over medium-high heat; bring it to a simmer. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3 to 4 minutes.
Turn the heat to low and begin mixing a handful of cheese into the milk at a time. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Add the pasta into cheese sauce and stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add a few Tablespoons of pasta cooking water at a time for a looser sauce. It’s done when you like the consistency.
Serve the mac & cheese right away with the salad on the side.