Alfredo Mac and Cheese – the rich creamy flavour of a pasta Alfredo in traditional baked mac and cheese form. Terrific as a side dish or with a simple salad for a complete meal.
A good version of Pasta Alfredo has always been one of my favourite dishes. The uncomplicated but rich creamy sauce, flavoured simply with garlic and Parmesan cheese and perfectly coating al dente pasta is a classic for a reason. It is one of the best examples of taking very few good quality, tasty ingredients and transforming them into something infinitely more delicious.
My kids are huge homemade mac and cheese fans, particularly my now 16 year old son Noah. He demands his mac and cheese fix at least every couple of weeks. We make several different versions, experimenting with cheese blends or adding crispy bacon to the recipe to keep things interesting. Spouse is usually the maker of the mac in this house and when we recently left the teenagers at home during a visit to Ontario, she made sure the freezer had plenty of single serving size helpings of mac and cheese at the ready, for them to thaw and microwave for a quick lunch or dinner. There always seems to be some of those single servings in our freezer and absolutely none of them ever go to waste.
When I was asked to develop a recipe for CorningWare’s colorful CW line of bakeware my favourite color in the collection was “Pool” a sort of brilliant aqua blue. I thought something very simple but appealing looking would be best to make in it first to make the most of the bright color. It was just the excuse I needed to experiment with making my latest version of mac and cheese with the creamy flavour of Alfredo Sauce.
The recipe worked fantastically well by using half cream and half milk as the base of the sauce. The garlic flavour is not too overpowering for my taste either. As with any great Alfredo recipe, the entire thing hinges on the quality of the Parmesan cheese. Use the best you can find to get the best flavour in your sauce. I always buy big chunks of authentic Italian made Parmigiano-Reggiano and finely grate it as needed. Good Parmesan cheese is something my fridge is never without.
This new version of mac and cheese got the approval of the entire household but as usual, it was Noah who mowed through all the leftovers by the next day. I’m quickly learning that leftovers are more of a necessity than a surplus in a household with a 16 year old appetite.
- 4 cups dry rotini fully cooked in salted water and well drained (If using a smaller size pasta like macaroni or fusilli cook only 3 cups of dry pasta.)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream heavy cream 35% M.F.
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 /4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces of grated part skim mozzarella cheese
Rotini is great for this recipe because its shape holds the maximum amount of sauce. Boil the pasta in salted water just to al dente. You almost want to under cook the pasta a little at this stage because it will continue to cook in the oven later. Drain the pasta very well. You can toss it in a teaspoon of butter to prevent it sticking together if you like.
Combine the milk and cream and scald them almost to the boiling point in a small saucepan or in the microwave oven. It is important for the liquid to be very hot so that the sauce will thicken quickly.
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat and add the flour and white pepper.
Cook together until it starts to get foamy, then add the garlic and stir for only 30 seconds or so. you don't want to brown the garlic at all, just soften it a little.
Whisking constantly, slowly pour in scalded milk & cream in three portions. when the sauce shows signs of thickening, quickly add the next portion. When the last portion has been added continue to cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly. The sauce will be a thin white sauce at this stage.
A little at a time, sprinkle in the finely grated Parmesan cheese. whisking constantly until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease an 8 to 10 cup baking dish with butter. Add half of the cooked pasta to the dish. Pour on half of the sauce and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers of pasta and sauce and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the sauce is bubbling and the top just starts to lightly brown.
Serve as a great side dish or with a simple mixed salad as a complete meal.
Rock Recipes is please to have this recipe sponsored by World Kitchen, who provided product and monetary compensation for this post.