Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
July 19, 2016
3 min read

Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes that you can customize as much as you want and it never gets old.

For this dish, I substituted a classic set of ingredients and the result was amazing.

Rather than the usual flour and milk for the sauce, I like to use Ricotta cheese, which sticks to every piece of pasta and combined with a spoonful of lemongrass gives you a nice comforting, and filling dish.

What you need

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass (optional, and to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheedar cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzeralla cheese
  • 1 cup paramesan cheese

How to make it

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. In the saucepan, add the onion, lemongrass and measured salt and pepper, and cook until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add the ricotta cheese to the mix slowly, and whisk frequently until evenly combined and smooth, stopping to whisk any clumps as needed.
  6. Continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  8. Add the pasta to the boiling pot of water and cook until still chewy and underdone, usually a few minutes less than the package directions suggest (the pasta will finish cooking in the oven).
  9. Drain and rinse with cold water until no longer steaming; set aside.
  10. Return the ricotta mixture to medium heat and stir in 3/4 of the cheeses until melted and smooth, leave some cheddar for a topping.
  11. Add the rinsed pasta and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is heated through and steaming, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  12. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  13. Transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the panko crumbs and remaining cheese, and bake until bubbling and lightly browned on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  14. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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