Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? My second Dad, Bob Hightower has been making us Mac & Cheese since we were kids. We played around with his recipe and decided if two kinds of cheddar (medium & sharp) are good then four kinds would be great. He has always loved Tillamook cheddar for it’s rich, creamy and naturally aged quality. We also like Kerrygold for the same reasons. As for the pasta he has always used penne, but any short and hollow shape will do the trick. This Mac and Cheese is creamy and crunchy with rich deep flavor. It is also a super easy recipe to customize, try layering in some crispy bacon, chopped roasted garlic or chopped jalapenos.

MacCheese-plated-1

Shred/grate and combine all four cheeses, set aside.

Butter a 9 x 12 baker on the bottom and sides.

Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Stir immediately after placing in boiling water to prevent sticking and cook al dente.

Drain and return to the hot pot, stir in 1 stick of butter, salt and pepper to taste until melted and well combined.

Place a single layer of pasta in the baker top with a layer of cheese. Repeat the layers ending with cheese.

Evenly pour half & half and whipping cream all over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 30-45 minutes until browned and crunchy.

 

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Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Dish can be made and refrigerated a day ahead and baked just before serving. You may also use smaller and or individual deeper bakers and increase the layers. This recipe appeals to children and adults but for a little extra kick layer in some crispy bacon, chopped roasted garlic or chopped jalapeño.

Depending on your layers and preference you may have some cheese left. Perfect for a grilled cheese or omelet the next day!

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of penne or other short hollow pasta
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, plus more to butter the dish.
  • 28oz blocks, Tillamook medium cheddar
  • 8oz block, Tillamook sharp cheddar
  • 7oz block, Kerrygold Aged White Cheddar (aged 12 months)
  • 7oz block, Kerrygold Reserve White Cheddar (aged 2 yrs)
  • 1 pint of Half & Half
  • 1 quart of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Paprika
  • Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Shred/grate and combine all four cheeses, set aside.
  3. Butter a 9 x 12 baker on the bottom and sides.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Stir immediately after placing in boiling water to prevent sticking and cook al dente.
  5. Drain and return to the hot pot, stir in 1 stick of butter, salt and pepper to taste until melted and well combined.
  6. Place a single layer of pasta in the baker top with a layer of cheese. Repeat the layers ending with cheese.
  7. Evenly pour half & half and whipping cream all over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 30-45 minutes until browned and crunchy.
  8. Serve and Enjoy!

Notes

If you prefer yellow cheddar to white use 2-8oz blocks of Tillamook sharp cheddar and 2 of medium cheddar instead of the 2-7oz blocks of Kerrygold white cheddar.

Adapted From | Bob Hightower

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8-10

Coming soon!