Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted garlic mac

Yes, you read that right. Mac and cheese…in July. Yes, I did it, and no I don't regret it one bit. I know that I have five other mac and cheese recipes on my blog at this moment, but this mac and cheese is outstanding and quite possibly the best one I've had (at home) to date, so I couldn't help but add a sixth to the mix! When we sat down to eat, in between bites I kept announcing how delicious it was and I noticed Joel didn't seem to share in my excitement. When I tried to call him out on it, he just smiled and said "this is how mac and cheese is SUPPOSED to taste!" as he took another bite. I guess he did share in my excitement, but he just does a better job at hiding it than me…or I'm just a freak who gets overly excited about food (although if you are reading this, you probably do to…right? Please tell me I'm not alone!).

For the Crumb Topping:
4 tablespoons Butter
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons Fresh Chives, chopped

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the Panko and chives, stirring to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until toasted and slightly browned. Transfer the crumb mixture to a small bowl and set aside. 

For the Pasta and Sauce:
1 Garlic Head
Olive Oil
1 pound Uncooked Pasta
1 stick Butter
6 tablespoons Flour
5 cups Whole Milk
5 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded (I used a mix of yellow and white)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Slice the top third off of the head of garlic. Place the bottom portion on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the top portion back on the head of garlic and wrap tightly in the foil. Roast the garlic at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. When it has slightly cooled, squeeze the cloves into a bowl and mash them into a paste using a fork; set aside (this part can be done a day ahead of time, which is what I did). Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. In a large, heavy sauce pot, melt the stick of putter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and garlic paste. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes until golden brown, then whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, mustard powder, salt, and pepper until well combined. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with the crumb topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the macaroni and cheese is golden brown and bubbling. 

*Yield: One 9x13 baking dish, or two 8x8 baking dishes. I opted for two 8x8 dishes, one of which was foil. After it was cooled (but not baked), I wrapped the foil baking dish in plastic wrap and tinfoil, and placed it in a gallon-size freezer bag, then froze it for future use.

**Edited to add (7/21/13): We baked the frozen dish of mac and cheese for dinner tonight and it worked out perfectly. We pulled it from the freezer a few hours before baking so that it could defrost a bit before baking. To bake, I simply put it in the oven while the oven was preheating, and baked for 30 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and slightly browned.

SOURCE: Just A Taste