On day 3 of Advent, Aldi gifted us a Red Leicester which I paired with Extra sharp Cheddar for a bold, flavorful mac and cheese.
Every year, Aldi releases a cheese Advent calendar. The calendar contains one individually wrapped piece of cheese for each day. There are twelve different cheeses available so we have two opportunities to explore different recipes we can make to feature each cheese. This is one of those recipes. Follow along here.
It’s important to balance out the flavors in your mac and cheese recipes. Some flavors sit at the beginning of the bite, and some at the end, and for a well rounded dish you want to use ingredients that hit both sides of the spectrum. I generally try to do this with cheeses, but other ingredients can also serve as the opener or closer in a dish.
Truffle is a great example of a closer flavor.
Red Leicester is not a cheese I typically find in my grocery store. After trying it here I’m disappointed this one passed my attention. The flavor of Red Leicester stands out at the end of the bite – perfect for a closer cheese.
I used extra sharp cheddar as the opener. Cheddar is an old favorite around here. It has a fantastic flavor that holds its own among other bold flavors. It’s also easy to get your hands on.
I was hoping matching two orange cheeses together would help highlight the bold color of both cheeses. Unfortunately the white bechamel sauce muted the color so much that it was more of an off-white color than bright orange.
Even with the disappointing color the flavor was fantastic. I now understand why Red Leicester is a key ingredient in many mac and cheese recipes. It offers a bold cheese flavor that stands out beautifully contrasted against other ingredients. I’d love to see it paired with other bold ingredients like asiago, jalapeno, or crispy onions.
This was another mac and cheese where I used Radiatore as the base. It’s a fun small shape that is easy to eat and has plenty of ridges to soak up the Red Leicester and Cheddar sauce so every mac and cheese bite is full of cheesy flavor.
Red Leicester with Cheddar Cheese Mac and CheeseCourse: Side DishCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
16 oz pasta cooked according to package directions
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups whole milk
4 oz Red Leicester, grated
4 oz Cheddar, grated
salt to taste
pepper to taste
- 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. Season generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- 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 and serve.