Smoked Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live but here in ”Sunny California” it is cold, windy and wet.  It’s almost noon and I still can’t bring myself to get out of my jammies.  I did shower this morning but I just wanted back into my cozies (is that a word?) afterward.  If I had it my way, I would lay around and cozy up with a good book today.  However, I have these three little people with lots of needs and wants following me around all day which makes the whole couch-book thing not work out very well. 
A day like today calls for some comfort food.  A good, classic, comfort food, the kind that just makes everything better.  Today is the perfect day for some homemade mac and cheese.  Now, this isn’t your basic mac and cheese recipe.  This one actually uses a smoked cheddar which definitely adds a noticeable delicious difference.  Rumor has it that this recipe came from Flemings, my very favorite restaurant.  I did change the smoked cheddar cheese ratio but other than that, it just might be close to their original version.  So here you go, I promise this will make you feel better…
Smoked Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
SERVES 8 -10
1 lb pasta (cavatappi or curly)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup onion, 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups half-and-half
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper (ground)
1/2 lb smoked cheddar cheese
1/2 lb cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ to 1 teaspoon (depending on desired spiciness) dried chipotle powder
3/4 cup panko
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grate smoked cheddar and cheddar cheese.
In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and pasta and cook for 8 – 9 minutes
Drain pasta and cool under cold running water. Pasta should be slightly firm. Toss drained pasta in oil and reserve.
Melt butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté for 4 – 5 minute.
Add flour and cook 1 – 2 minute but do not brown.
Add cream, half and half, kosher salt and white pepper.
Bring pot to a simmer. Cook until sauce is thick, about 5 – 6 minute
Blend cheese into sauce
Stir in the cooked pasta.
Pour pasta and sauce into a 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Reserve.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add oil and chipotle chili powder.  Heat for 30 seconds, until pan starts to smoke.
Remove from stove and stir in bread crumbs.
Sprinkle bread crumbs over the pasta and bake for 15 – 20 minute until golden.
Cool slightly before serving.
Source:  adapted from Flemings Steakhouse

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  1. 1
    Colleen says:

    Yum! Too bad I'm not going to the store in this weather!!

  2. 2
    Kristen says:

    Amy calls them cozy pants. ;) This mac and cheese looks delish!

  3. 3
    Cindy M says:

    Ok I'll post this comment a second time.This looks sooo yummy and this is definitely a very cute blog!!!!!

  4. 4
    cyndie says:

    looks so good! i love cheese! :)

  5. 5
    Laura says:

    Oh that looks so good! Do you use your foos processor for grating cheese?

  6. 6
    Laura says:

    I meant food processor, sorry

  7. 7
    Allie says:

    Yes Laura, I love using my food processor to grate cheese. It's so much faster when you have a lot of cheese to grate.