Country Sampler Special Edition
Sheet-Pan Mac and Cheese
We love macaroni and cheese in whatever form it comes in! Fabiana of Ciao Newport Beach swapped the traditional baking dish for one of today’s trendiest tools—the sheet pan. By spreading the cheesy pasta out in a thin layer, you get lots of crunchy goodness.
INGREDIENTS Kosher salt 1 pound elbow macaroni 2 cups + 2 tablespoons half-and-half 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste 1 teaspoon onion powder Pinch of nutmeg 2 cups panko breadcrumbs 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the macaroni, reserving 1¼ cups of the pasta water. Gently toss the macaroni with 2 tablespoons of half-and-half and set aside.
2. Heat 2 cups of half-and-half, cream cheese, and reserved pasta water in a large pot over medium heat, stirring until the cream cheese is completely melted and the mixture just comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the cheddar, Monterey Jack, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, onion powder and nutmeg, whisking until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth.
3. Add the macaroni to the pot and stir to combine. (It will look watery, but the pasta will absorb some of the sauce as it bakes.) Season to taste with salt, if desired. Spread out the macaroni mixture on an 18" x 13" sheet pan.
4. Toss the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and ½ teaspoon of salt together in a medium bowl and sprinkle the topping evenly over the pasta. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are brown and crisp, rotating halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes.
RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FABIANA OF CIAONEWPORTBEACH.BLOGSPOT.COM.