Monday, 27 May 2013

Mac & Cheese Mondays: Fontina Mac & Cheese

I can't believe that it's been so long since my last post.  Time just seemed to get away from me.

As always, I fully INTENDED to post - but life, once more, got in the way and I have a couple of announcements.

The first announcement, I suppose would be, that I recently started a new job!  It's a HUGE change for me, but I'm excited to have a new challenge and flex my "work brain" a little.  And when I say "a little", I mean a whole heckuvalot.

The second is that I will be moving a little over 300 kilometers away from where I live now into a much smaller city.

I'm terrified and excited, but am sure that it will turn out really well.

Good grief - keep your fingers crossed for me.

As for Mac & Cheese Mondays - I think this is the last one I will ever make in this kitchen.

Earlier this year I had mentioned that I really needed to start emptying out my pantry.  And fridge.  And now that I'm moving this is even more important.  Because the less junk that I have to move, the better.

Then when the news came about the new job and the move, I decided to really ramp up the clean out project.

After looking through what I had in the fridge - which, by the way, is a total mish-mosh of different kinds of cheese, and looking through the recipes I had saved away, I couldn't seem to find a recipe that would implement a variety of the cheeses that I already had. 

I came across a recipe from Annie at Annie's Eats that called for only fontina cheese, and I luckily happened to have leftover fontina from when I made Bacon Lover's Mac and Cheese for Dee.

Let's get it started shall we?

Start gently heating the cream.

Cook and drain the pasta.  In the same pot, add the butter and return the pasta to the pot.  Stir to coat the pasta with the butter.

Add the warm cream to the pasta.

Start adding the shredded fontina.

Stirring until melted and add in the salt and nutmeg.

Melt some butter.

Add some panko crumbs.

Then some grated Parmesan.  Stir to combine.

Pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish and top with the panko mixture.

Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the panko topping is golden and crisp.

If you take a smell of fontina, you would expect that the flavour profile would be really sharp and strong.  Because fontina is kind of stinky.  But the truth is, it's quite smooth and creamy and wonderful.

I didn't think this ended up having as much of a cheese sauce as I would have expected from a mac and cheese, but someone I know really loved it and scarfed down a whole plateful!

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Fontina Mac & Cheese

1 pound macaroni pasta
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/3 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
  2. Begin gently heating the cream in a small pot.
  3. Cut 4 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add into the pot the pasta was cooked in.
  4. Return the pasta to the pot, and stir to coat the pasta with the butter.
  5. Stir in the warm cream.
  6. Start adding the fontina cheese, a handful at a time, stirring until melted.
  7. Stir in the salt and nutmeg and pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish.
  8. In a small bowl, melt the remaining butter.
  9. Stir in the panko crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and spread over the pasta mixture.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven until the sauce is bubbly and the crumb mixture is golden, around 20 minutes.
  11. Serve immediately.
Source:  Annie's Eats

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