Shells & Cheese

Certain foods seem to stand the test of time in our home kitchens longer than others, perhaps due to ease of cooking, just plain deliciousness, or a combination of both.  Enter macaroni & cheese.
By Lauren Kretzer

Macaroni and Cheese

Certain foods seem to stand the test of time in our home kitchens longer than others, perhaps due to ease of cooking, just plain deliciousness, or a combination of both.  Enter macaroni & cheese. There are countless variations on the classic recipe out there – from spicy buffalo to truffle specked – and depending on your mood or the season, there’s a version to suit your fancy.  If you’re feeling nostalgic for the classic blue box variety (you know, with the neon orange cheese powder) but don’t necessarily dig the artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, there’s a recipe for you, too.  This macaroni and cheese has the same golden hue, the familiar small shell pasta, and all of the creaminess and tang that you crave from a proper cheese sauce.  One thing it lacks?  A laundry list of ingredients you can’t pronounce.  Talk about a win-win.

 

Shells & Cheese
 
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A fresh spin on the classic blue-box variety of Macaroni & Cheese
Author:
Recipe Type: Main Entree
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 4 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of organic half and half, warmed
  • 2 cups of a combination of shredded cheddar and gruyere cheeses
  • ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of dry ground mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon of turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups of dry shell pasta
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, whisking constantly, until well incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the warmed half and half. Stir until completely incorporated and slightly thickened, a few minutes. Add the smoked paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, and turmeric.
  3. Return the saucepan to the stovetop over low heat and gently fold in the shredded cheese. Once cheese is completely melted and combined, season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large pot, bring salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta shells and add to cheese mixture. Combine with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake in a greased casserole dish for 30 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown. Serve hot.
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