By varying the pasta shapes and cheese varieties used, as well as by adding other ingredients, creative chefs are bringing back mac and cheese in big, bold, flavorful ways. Just imagine variations such as butterfly pasta baked with Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses, onion marmalade and rosemary; or macaroni with crab meat, Cheddar and Gruyere cheeses, topped with citrus bread crumbs and baked in a rich, creamy sauce.
Whether traditional or trendy, the real secret to great macaroni and cheese is in the cheese. Classic versions rely on full-flavored sharp Cheddar, but other cheese can easily be substituted or blended with Cheddar to create new variations.
Some Great Macaroni and Cheese Recipes:
Gorgonzola: Ivory-colored cheese with green-blue veins, soft texture and peppery flavor.
Gouda: A slightly salty, smooth, buttery cheese. Try it smoked for an exciting variation.
Pepato: A spicy, pale yellow, hard Italian-style cheese studded with black peppercorns.
Swiss: A creamy cheese with an almost silky texture, a nutty flavor and perfect for melting.
Fontina: Semi-soft cheese with buttery texture and rich, sweet, earthy flavor.
Mozzarella: Milky, sweet flavor, with an elastic body that melts well.
Parmesan: A hard-grating, naturally low-fat cheese with a lovely straw color and rich, sharp flavor.
Gruyere: A robust, nutty, full-flavored, alpine-style cheese.
Cheddar: The world's favorite cheese is mild when young, but becomes sharper with age.