Monday, February 21, 2011

Fontina Mac & Cheese

I have a slight cheese obsession.  That turns into a cheese problem.  I constantly want to buy and try new cheese.  Then I remember I'm on a diet and really, cheese isn't the most diet friendly thing to eat.  So then it sits in the fridge.  This half-eaten block of "fancy" cheese.  Cooper gets some of it, but you can only give a kid so much cheese before you have problems.  Although he'd disagree - the boy loves cheese!
Every once in a while, I try to find a recipe that will help clean out the cheese drawer.  I've been trying to move past the fontina & havarti that have been in the fridge for a few weeks.  After doing my blog-hopping I came across a recipe for Fontina Mac & Cheese over at Annie's Eats.  I knew I didn't have the right amount of fontina, but I figured finishing it with just a little havarti would work.

Mac & cheese is usually something I'm a little afraid of because there is a fine line between it being creamy and dry.  I've screwed up plenty of batches, trust me!  This one, though, turned out to be pretty easy and tasted great.  I made a few changes to make it a little healthier, although I think that changing the cream to half & half will cause it to dry out a little bit.  It was pretty creamy the first night, but for leftovers I'm probably going to add in a little more half & half before baking in small ramekins.

Fontina Mac & Cheese adapted from Annie's Eats
  • 1 13.5oz box whole wheat pasta (I went with the shells)
  • 5 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 5oz fontina, shredded
  • 3oz havarti, shredded
  • salt & pepper
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400.  Boil the pasta in salted water to just shy of al dente.  In a large bowl, dice 4 tablespoons of the unsalted butter.  Warm the half & half in the microwave or on the stove top and keep warm.  Drain the pasta and pour over the butter.  Stir in the half & half and the cheese until the cheese is melted.  Add in salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Pour the pasta into a baking dish.  Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and add in the panko.  Pour over the pasta and add shredded parmesan.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.

WW PointsPlus: 8 pts for 10 servings

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