During our pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s, we snagged a Spanish tapas cheese sampler kit. While all three cheeses in the kit were fantastic, our favorite was the manchego. This Spanish sheep’s milk cheese has such a unique flavor perfect as a closer in a manchego mac and cheese recipe.
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When making mac and cheese, I tend to err on the side of smaller more fork-able noodles, but you are welcome to use any pasta you want. Today I used Gigli in my mac and cheese today. I hadn’t used this shape before and I was pleasantly surprised by the texture. It felt like eating homemade dumplings. The trumpet shape held the sauce well and the twist gave it a pleasant, almost chewy texture. This pasta will have permanent place in my pantry now.
Unfortunately, we devoured all of our initial manchego in one sitting, but I had absolutely no trouble tracking down some in my local grocery store. Manchego has a bold, interesting closer flavor that pairs perfectly with some extra sharp cheddar to balance out the bowl.
Because the sauce is so flavorful, I tuned down the toppings a little bit. For added crunch, I tossed some ritz crackers and asiago crisps in a zipper bag and crushed them before sprinkling the mixture on top. It added just the right amount of crunch and a slight flavor that complimented the mac and cheese well.
All of the toppings come together beautifully in this manchego mac and cheese recipe perfect for a cozy night in or impressing all your friends.
Manchego Mac and Cheese RecipeCourse: Sides, EntreeCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Manchego and cheddar pair together in a savory flavorful mac and cheese.
16 oz Pasta
3 tbsp Butter
3 tbsp Flour
3 cups Whole Milk
1 cup grated Manchego
1 cup grated cheddar
- Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
- Prepare the sauce
- Pre heat your milk in the microwave for 45 seconds – just enough to take the chill out of it.
- Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and let it heat until it becomes foamy.
- Mix in flour. Cook it for a minute while stirring constantly.
- Slowly add warmed milk to the butter mixture 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk it continually until combined.
- Once all of the milk is added, cook for a few minutes while whisking it. Do not let it boil.
You will feel the sauce start to thicken. It’s ready for cheese when you rub a small amount between your fingers and it feels silky.
- Remove from heat and stir in your cheese until it’s melted and mixed into the sauce.
- Once the cheese is incorporated, use a cooked noodle to taste your sauce. If it doesn’t taste cheesy enough try adding a little more salt to bring out the flavor.
- Combine the pasta and sauce.
- Crush the ritz crackers and asiago together in a plastic bag and sprinkle over the pasta.