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Dec 15, 2009 07:34 AM

Mac n cheese?

thinking of making some mac n cheese-

any specific pairings you recommend?

I want to go fairly simple to begin.

so i was thinking of a 4 cheese combo with some herb.

what do you recommend?

im thinking...
cheddar, meunster, gruyere and pecorino - thyme

any suggestions ? thanks.

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  1. cheddar isn't always a stable melting cheese, id' pick another soft cheese like fontina or even swiss. if you're new at this, consider making a white roux with milk to give the thing structure.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I agree with the roux advice. And if you make the roux you should be able to use cheddar just fine.

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        I third the advice re: the roux and the cheddar cheese (sharp cheddar!). I'm having some leftover mac & ham & cheese right now for lunch. But fontina or gruyere would be a good addition.

    2. The last one I made was Cheddar, Jarlsberg and Stilton seasoned with a bit of gulden's mustard. Yes with a roux (there's another way?)

      7 Replies
      1. re: Jack_

        yup im doing a white roux. and perhaps ill ditch pecorino for fontina

        how would i work herbs into this? fold in with or just top it after?

        1. re: lestblight

          Why are you thinking herbs - because you have them? If you do want to use herbs, I'd probably mix it into the breadcrumb topping, like this blogger:

          1. re: lestblight

            I add seasoning, salt, pepper and any herbs to the roux before adding the cheese and macaroni. I wouldn't put it in the topping, you want it to infuse and be better mixed in.

            Use whatever cheese you like. I usually use sharp cheddar, which I always have around (usually Cabot or Cracker Barrel bricks ) and add what looks good and is on special at the cheese shop. As I said last time I was inspired by this nice $8 lb Stilton.

            1. re: lestblight

              I think with the lovely assortment of cheese flavors you've got going on, adding herbs is going to foul up the cheesy simplicity of the dish. If you must, go with an herb that's milder than thyme; chervil or even flat parsley lend themselves much better to a multi-cheese dish. No disrespect meant to herb lovers, however.

              With all the cheese action going on in the dish, I think it cries out for the addition of either a little Colman's mustard in the roux, or as I often do in mac and cheese, some sort of chili pepper action (I use a Vietnamese chili paste).

              1. re: shaogo

                i also use mustard in the roux and like smoked paprika on top.

                1. re: shaogo

                  I agree, this is not the place for dried herbs. Mustard yes, maybe a pinch (or more, if you like) of cayenne or a hint of nutmeg, but leave the thyme on the shelf.

                  Oops! Just read down and realized this has been suggested several times already. That's what I get for replying before finishing the thread.

              2. re: Jack_

                Yes! there's another way! Remember this one? (Hope this permalink thing works...


                I had posted this....


              3. I love using a mix of monterey jack, sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, and jarlsberg. And yes i use a roux, i didnt' know there was another way. I liberally sprinkle breadcrumbs (i use italian seasoned) on top, dot with butter, and then top it all with some fresh grated parmesan to get a good crust. I make a lot so i have leftovers. OH! and i mix some roasted garlic in with the cheese sauce, it adds a nice sweetness and depth of flavor. Also lots of fresh cracked black pepper

                1. My recipe includes a liberal dose of cayenne.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Nutmeg is also a nice touch - though not with the cayenne, I think.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I forgot all about nutmeg. Fabulous with cheeses. Just enough so you barely detect it.

                      I recall vividly having a piece of quiche when I was about 16 -- it was laced with Swiss cheese, and the filling had a bit of nutmeg in it. I thought it was the most wonderful cheese taste I'd ever experienced!

                      1. re: shaogo

                        But it's also remarkably easy to overdo it on the nutmeg, too -- and that's not a nice flavor. I ruined a very expensive mac and cheese with too much once, and now I'm super gunshy with it in savory dishes.

                  2. I just saw a Diners, DriveIns and Dives episode that used crumbled Pepperidege farm Extreme Cheddar goldfish crackers mixed with butter for the crumb topping...tried it last week and it was great! I use a very basic Betty Crocker recipe for mac and cheese, usually use sharp or extra sharp cheddar, but have been know to add whatever other cheeses I have in the fridge, with never a bad result:)