Fabio gives secrets on how to make a perfect cheese sauce and breadcrumb topping then combines them with pasta for his Italian mac and cheese, the ultimate comfort food.
- Softer cheeses are better than hard ones for mac and cheese.
- Make a cream bath to melt the cheeses together first by placing a bowl of cream over a pot of boiling water. This will ensure you have a great consistency to your mac and cheese and helps avoid the mistake of burning your cheese sauce.
- Always use cheese and pasta in equal amount for a perfect cheesy balance. Add and reduce the cheese to the pasta to intensify the creamy, cheesy flavor.
- Don't use boring breadcrumbs! Blending fresh herbs and lemon zest in your breadcrumbs helps deepen their flavor. Use the breadcrumbs to top the mac and cheese and bake off in the oven as a perfect finish to your dish.
ITALIAN MAC AND CHEESE
Recipe by Fabio Viviani
Yields: 4 large servings
1 lb. dry macaroni pasta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup heavy cream
12 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 lemon, zested
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Put the heavy cream and all the cheeses into a mixing bowl.
Add cracked pepper and pinch of salt to cream and cheese.
Put the bowl on top of a pot of boiling water on medium high and stir until the cheese is melted, set it aside.
Cook pasta in the pot of boiling water until al dente.
Drain the pasta and set aside.
Smash garlic cloves and place them in oil in a sauté pan over medium low heat and cook until soft.
Remove garlic and mix with pasta.
Mix in the cheese sauce, and put in the pot and heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
While that is heating, put the breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until well combined.
Place Mac and cheese in an oven safe container and top with bread crumb mixture and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.