Surprise Wedding Mac & Cheese
Back in July, I did a cooking demonstration at the Stark County Educational Service Center at Stark State College for PBS Western Reserve in celebration of The Great American Recipe on PBS.
I chose to do Surprise Wedding Mac & Cheese, which celebrated the best day of my life - when my ride or die - Jenny, and I chose to tie the knot in front of 75 unaware guests at a surprise barbecue wedding. It was glorious!
You can read about the event here on the Canton Repository's website~ It's a glowing article - I'm glad I did it!
The execution of this recipe would eventually lead to being voted out of the barn. Wonk Wonk.
The outpouring of support since that episode aired was humbling. I've been asked so many times for the recipe. and have sent it off in texts, email messages, and DMs. It's time to publish it.
Here's the recipe for our Surprise Wedding Mac & Cheese!
All photos here are credited to Kelsey Davis and are included in the CantonRep article.
2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar
- 8 ounces white cheddar
- 8 ounces smoked gouda
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 8oz can sweet corn
- 1 8oz can pickled jalapenos
- 2 cups cavatappi
- 1 cups cauliflower, roasted
- 1 cups of panko breadcrumbs
- 8 ounces edam cheese, shredded
Break cauliflower into small florets, toss in oil and salt, then, using a baking sheet, roast off in a 400 degree oven until golden brown.
Using a large pot and a colander, cook and drain cavatappi, reserving about a cup of pasta water.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and mix in flour to create a roux.
You will want to cook the roux until it is a light blond color with a slight nutty smell.
Add the milk, stirring constantly until a sauce develops.
Once the milk is incorporated, add the heavy cream until incorporated.
Add the Dijon mustard, salt, white pepper, nutmeg.
Begin adding the cheese - start with the white cheddar. Add a few ounces at a time, continually stirring until incorporated.
Once the white cheddar is melted, add the parmesan - once the parmesan is incorporated add the sharp cheddar.
Remove the pan from the heat to avoid breaking the sauce. A trick to help not break the cheese sauce is to keep the pan about a quarter onto the burner, and stir from the heated end into the non heated side. This should distribute the heat and act as a safety net in breaking the sauce.
If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water. Don't get dinged like I did for making it too thick :)
At this point, the cauliflower should be perfect. Pull that from the oven and add to the sauce mixture along with the jalapenos and the corn.
Stir in the drained macaroni, the smoked gouda, and the ricotta, folding gently.
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish, spreading into an even layer.
Mix the edam and the panko together and spread on the top of the macaroni.
Bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
I ate a plate or two!