Prep 30 mins
Cook 35 mins
There is always room for one more mac & cheese recipe. This newly created version with the addition of ricotta cheese puts a whole new spin on this traditional comfort food. Is this recipe too large for your family? Remember, Mac & Cheese is terrific frozen in serving size portions for use later. Created for RSC 16, and was awarded First Place. My thanks to everyone that reviewed the recipe.
- 1⁄2 tablespoon butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups sweet onions, chopped
- 3 liters water, boiling
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 cups cavatappi pasta, uncooked
- 1 cup half-and-half cream
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon hot chili sauce, to start
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 cups old cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1⁄2 cup corn, flake crumbs
- 1⁄4 cup old cheddar cheese, shredded
- Saute onions, on low heat, in 1 tbsp of butter until just tender, but not brown. Set aside.
- In a large pot, add 1 tbsp salt to the boiling water, and cook pasta until al denta. Drain, but do not rinse.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
- In a microwave safe measuring cup, mix the half and half with the milk, and heat for 2 minutes on high, in the microwave. Let sit in the microwave until ready to use. (This step is not crucial, but the sauce will thicken faster when using warmed milk.).
- Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan, using medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter along with the black pepper. Once bubbling, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of flour. Allow a few moments for the fat to absorb the flour, then stir to combine. Carefully stir the warmed cream/milk into the butter/flour mixture and cook until thickened. This generally takes about 10 minutes on my stove.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the onions, hot chili sauce, ricotta cheese, and the 2 cups of shredded cheddar. Stir until the cheddar has melted. Taste, and add the optional salt if needed. Depending on your taste, you may also opt to increase the amount of hot chili sauce as well.
- Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and gently stir. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.
- Mix together 1 tbsp melted butter with the corn flake crumbs. Sprinkle over the pasta and top with the 1/4 cup shredded cheddar.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.
Definitely the ultimate ULTIMATE mac n' cheese recipe we've ever tried. LOVED it!
This mac & cheese recipe was a winner at our house. The boys both gave it two thumbs up, then asked for seconds and leftovers for lunch the next day. I particularly liked the topping giving it a nice crunchy texture. Easy to make and a hit with the kids makes this a must have in my recipe book. Thanks for creating such a lovely recipe! Made and enjoyed for RSC #16. Best of luck!
This was a nice creamy mac n' cheese. For our tastes though it wasn't cheesy or flavorful enough. I liked the sweet onions in it some garlic may have been nice too. I used extra-sharp cheddar cheese but think the ricotta may have negated it's flavor. I used 1 1/2 cups 2% milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream because I didn't have any half and half. The spiral macaroni was nice in that all the sauce got into the grooves. I'm not sure the topping added much but it did look nice. All in all this used up a lot of cookware and took a long time to prepare and I don't think it was worth all of the effort as it wasn't the "Ultimate" mac n' cheese for our tastes. Nice use of contest ingredients though. Good luck in the contest.