Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese
I know I’ve been on kind of a mac and cheese kick lately but really, can you blame me? It’s total comfort food and the chilly weather and fading daylight make me yearn for it. Not to mention the fact that I brought home a bunch of amazing varieties of cheddar from our Vermont trip. I have different things in mind to do with each of them but this recipe needed to be made immediately. It was taking shape in my head throughout the trip and within 48 hours of arriving home, we had this for dinner.
This recipe was inspired by the garlic cheddar that I bought in Grafton, and it was a great way to make use of it. I actually had grand plans for a dish similar to this last fall, but unfortunately my attempts never really turned out quite as I was hoping. This time I was just playing around and ended up with exactly what I had hoped for last year. Better late then never! Of course I realize that garlic cheddar may not be available to everyone depending on where you live and the grocery selection near you. Never fear though, even with regular ol’ white cheddar, this will turn out just fine. If you’re unfamiliar with roasted garlic, a whole head of roasted garlic may seem like a lot but it’s actually not. Roasting really mellows out the flavor of the garlic and it takes on a smooth quality. I happen to consider roasted garlic to be a sort of magical ingredient. Most dishes are only made better by the addition of some roasted garlic. In this case another favorite cheese of mine, boursin, is included to pull the whole thing together and well, I really think you should just go make this now so I’ll shush :)
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 12 oz. dry pasta
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- ¼ tsp. dried parsley
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 8 oz. garlic cheddar or white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. crumbled garlic and herb boursin cheese, divided
- Salt and pepper
- Snipped chives, for garnish (optional)
To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Remove most of the outer paper skins from the head of garlic, leaving it intact. Slice off the top portion of the head so that all of the cloves are exposed at the top, but the head is still intact. Rub with a bit of olive oil. Place the head of garlic on a piece of foil and loosely fold the foil up around the head of garlic to create a foil packet. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the cloves are easily squeezed from the skins (be sure to let cool before handling!) Squeeze all of the garlic out of the skins and smash with a fork to make a paste.
Increase the oven temperature to 400˚ F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until about 2 minutes shy of al dente according to the package directions. Drain in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and the roasted garlic paste and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, dried parsley, and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce comes to a low boil and thickens noticeably. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar and about 3 ounces of the boursin. Whisk until the cheese is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and toss to coat well. Transfer to a lightly greased 2 quart baking dish and top with the remaining boursin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling. Let cool at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with snipped chives for garnish, if desired.