Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monster Macaroni

For years I grew up on Blue Box Macaroni, Velveeta if it was a special treat. My mom loathed the stuff but we wouldn't eat macaroni and cheese from scratch. As I got older I figured out that the recipes never had enough cheese in it for my taste, how did it stand a chance?! So when I started to see the same habits forming in my three year old, I had to do something.

Through a lot of trial and error, Moster Macaroni was born. Muenster Cheese melts in a creamy way that the cheddar binds to. The mild flavor lets the cheddar take the forefront while not disappearing completely. My son loves when I make this, so much so that he sneaks up behind me and demands "monster cheese! cheddar cheese! or tickle mommy!" The kid's no dummy.




Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Pasta (I used elbows because it's what I had, usually I use 2.5 cups of rotini)
  • 10 oz Muenster Cheese
  • 12 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Tbs Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/8 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbs Romano Cheese

Begin by puttting a pot of water on to boil. Set your oven to pre-heat for 375 Degrees.

Next, Grate your cheese. Yes, by hand. I don't suggest buying pre-grated cheese, ever. I personally think that whatever preservative they use to keep it from sticking to itself, dries out the cheese and stealing the flavor. But that's my opinion. *tucks soapbox away* Okay now...


Your water will probably have started boiling by the time you're done with one of your cheeses, take this opportunity to dump in your pasta!



Now! Back to the other cheese...


You can also take this time to butter your oven-safe dish, I use real butter instead of a spray and it's made cleanup a cinch for me.


After the 8-10 minutes it takes for your pasta to cook, drain it in your strainer or if you're like me, a colander! Dump it into your dish.

Now look at your pasta, it will look milky, opaque and not have any real shine to it (sans any remaining water)

(It's really hard to capture the difference in a picture)

Next add in your egg, milk, and butter and thoroughly coat all of your noodles, they will all become glassy and shiny, which is your goal!


Once your noodles are all slippery and stick-proof, add in your cheeses. I do this slowly and fold in the cheese, then take off my rings and get my hands in there. I hate how messy my hands get but it's the best way to ensure your cheese is evenly dispersed in your dish. It might seem like it will overflow your dish, but once your done mixing, you pat it down evenly to prepare for the last step.


Finally, mix your bread crumbs and romano cheese together.


Then sprinkle evenly over top of your macaroni and cheese mixture.


Bake for 30-40 minutes (You know your oven best afterall). The crust keeps the heat in really well, I know that after I've served my kids and we've been eating for 20-25 minutes, when we go for seconds, it's still VERY hot.



I hope you enjoy your own Monster Macaroni! Some awesome variations I've done with my kids are:

  • Substituting 1cup of the pasta for 1 cup of chopped steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower.
  • Mixing in cubes of leftover Ham from a previous dinner.
  • Adding Bacon Bits to the cheese and Mustard Powder to the bread crumbs.
  • Crumbling Ritz Crackers for the topping instead of Bread Crumbs.
Do you have any suggestions for alterations? Let me know in the comments!

3 comments:

  1. this is how my grandma used to make it!!!! i'll give it a shot!!! <3333

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  2. This looks yummy, I'll think of you (and your children) everytime I make this!

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