Mac and Cheese or Macraroni and Cheese is considered as a comfort food in the West. We Indians are adaptive by nature and hence we have also adapted this dish and make it according to our own taste. White sauce pasta is one take or version of the mac and cheese and is loved by kids. Anyway, my take on the recipe is the old fashioned way that is the home baked mac and cheese! This is my all time favourite recipe but I do not prepare it very often for one and only reason that it is fully loaded with cheese, butter and all the things that taste out of the world, at the same time they are so so so high in calories. So have this once in a while when you are craving for it, or have it as a cheat meal and then forget about it and work out more the next day!
Mac and Cheese originated in The United Kingdom and today it is widely popular in UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India also to some extent. Traditionally mac and cheese casserole is baked in a oven but it can also be done on cook tops or a packaged mix can be used. The recipe that I’m sharing today is a take on the traditional method. The consistency of my dish is not like a pie though, I prefer to let the macaronis loosen and not stick to each other. I’ve made various changes in the recipe as few ingredients like cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, half n half are not easily available here in my location so I make my own version and the recipe is definitely a winner. Let me know what you think.
As a child I used to love white sauce pasta over the red sauce one. As I grew and slowly developed passion for baking and cooking, I once found a recipe of this mac and cheese on the internet, though more than half of the ingredients were such which are not very commonly available here in India so I brought out this version on my own. Still the idea was baking it and I got it from the website Taste of Home. Since then I’ve never made white sauce pasta again, this recipe has not let me do that.
You can also use penne pasta instead of macaroni, just that it will become penne and cheese then. I have used cream cheese blend in the recipe, you can use unsalted cheese spread too. Instead of cheddar cheese I’ve used normal processed cheese with the cream cheese blend. To top it off I used little grated mozzarella cheese, use normal processed grated cheese if you do not have mozzarella. I’ve also used a sprinkle of bread crumb mixture from top which is must as it hikes the taste. Check it out in the recipe. Using mushroom with pasta is very common, hence I used it. Other veggies like broccoli , carrots etc can also be used.
- Macaroni/Elbow pasta - 2½ to 3 cups(lightly packed, dont press in tightly while measuring)
- A small and chopped onion - 1
- Chopped Garlic - 1 tsp
- Chopped Mushroom (any type of) - ½ cup
- Butter - 3 tbsp
- Cream Cheese Blend - 1 cup
- Milk - 1¼ cup
- Processed cheese - 2 cubes (I used Amul)
- Black pepper powder - ¼ tsp / or more if required
- Salt - 1 tsp / as required
- For topping: Bread crumbs - ⅓ cup
- Mixed herb seasoning / all purpose seasoning - 1½ tbsp
- Melted butter - 2 tbsp
- Grated Mozzarella Cheese - 2tsp
- Cook pasta in water till al dante (al dante is an Italian term which means half cooked or should become little soft but not cook fully) or as given instructions on package. Drain the water and put the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain off the excess water again and set the pasta aside. The macaronis should not stick to each other. Keep aside.
- Take a pan, add in 2 tbsp butter, let the butter melt , then add in garlic, onion and mushroom. Saute for few mins until cooked nicely. Keep aside.
- To make white sauce, in another pan Add 1 tbsp of butter, cream cheese blend, chopped processed cheese and mix well until all the cheese melts.Keep it on a low flame. Now add the milk, give a stir and cook until everything is incorporated well.
- At this stage add the seasonings, salt and pepper and mix well. Once cooked fully, remove from flame.
- Mix in the sauted mushroom mixture with the prepared white sauce/cheese mixture. Keep aside
- Grease a baking dish with butter or oil, Now add the macaroni in the dish.
- Pour the cheese mushroom mixture slowly from top on the macaroni and mix well so that all the macaroni mixes with the white sauce.
- For topping, mix bread crumbs with 2 tbsp melted butter and 1½ tbsp mixed herb or all purpose seasoning. Mix well and it will result to a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle it from top like you can see in the above picture which is captioned as "before". Thats it!
- Now bake for 20 to 25 mins or until golden from top at 180 degree celsius.
- Once done, take the dish out and grate 2 tsp mozarella cheese from top. Keep it back again in the oven and bake till the cheese melts. You can use processed cheese instead of mozarella here. I used processed cheese.
- Once done, you are ready to dig in.
Recipe adapted from : Taste of Home