February 17, 2011

Week 33, Recipe 1: Baked Mac & Cheese with Ritz Cracker Topping

  • Adapted from Annie's Eats and found by my friend Emily
  • Baked Mac & Cheese is something you want to serve right away after baking. This is a really quick recipe but to make it even quicker, cook your pasta the night before just al dente (a minute or two before the cooking time listed on the package) then drain and toss with a little olive oil and refrigerate. You can also crush the Ritz crackers and shred the Muenster cheese ahead of time.
  • 16 oz macaroni pasta
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 8 oz Muenster cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. Ritz cracker crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta 1-2 minutes shy of what the package says so it's al dente. YOU DO NOT WANT TO OVERCOOK. Drain.
2. Meanwhile dice 3 tbsp of butter and place in a large mixing bowl (different than the one you'll use to bake the mac & cheese). Warm the cream in the microwave.
3. Drain the hot cooked pasta and add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat. Stir in the warm cream and the shredded cheese until it starts to melt. Mix in salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour the mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter and mix in the 1/2 c. bread crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta.
5. Bake uncovered until the sauce is bubbling and topping turns golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.