Little-known fact: my favorite childhood dish was macaroni and cheese. Every Sunday, whenever my mom or aunt cooked dinner, I always asked if mac and cheese was being made. The times they didn’t make it, I’d resort to the Easy Mac.
It wasn’t until about five years ago that I learned how to make homemade, oven-baked mac and cheese. Once I knew that, the blue box and I had a mutual separation. Through experimenting around, I believe I have found the premier recipe for mac and cheese, considering how quick it gets gone anytime I make it. Bon appetit!
1 (16 ounce) box of macaroni (or shells)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Italian cheese
1 c. shredded pepper Jack cheese*
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. basil
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
*Note: You can use whatever kind of shredded cheeses you want/have on hand. I always switch it up every time, but you HAVE to have 4 cups of shredded cheese total.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender, six to eight minutes. Drain.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the shredded cheeses. Remove about 1/2 cup for topping and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, sour cream and heavy cream. Season with basil, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
3. Pour the ricotta cheese mixture and drained macaroni into the bowl with the cheeses and toss lightly. Do not mix too thoroughly—the messier the better. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top. (You’re welcome to add breadcrumbs if you’d like.)
4. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil. Broil for about five minutes to brown the top.
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