Cheddar with whiskey and Colby mac and cheese recipe

On day 15, our recipe is a cheddar with whiskey and Colby mac and cheese. It’s packed with interesting flavors and layered with crispy onions and Asiago crisps for a great mac and cheese experience.

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Using Cheese in Mac and Cheese

When you bite into a piece of cheese, pay attention to how long the cheesy flavor takes to hit you. Sometimes it immediately comes through but fades away quickly. These are what I call opener cheeses. They’re important to include in a mac and cheese recipe so you’re welcomed to the bowl with immediate cheese flavor.

Other cheeses take a few seconds for the flavor to develop but it holds throughout the end of the bite. You want to use these closer cheeses in a recipe so the cheesy flavor carries throughout the end of the bite.

Well-rounded mac and cheese recipes make use of both opener and closer cheeses so the cheesy flavor is present throughout the entire bite.

Cheddar with Whiskey

Cheddar is one of my favorite mac and cheese ingredients. It’s the cheese you picture when someone says cheese, and it’s packed with cheesy flavor. It’s the perfect opener cheese.

This cheddar has a whiskey finish that shines bright at the end of the bite.

Colby

Colby is an orange cheese that melts beautifully and works well as an opener cheese. It has a mild flavor that balances well with the whiskey finish of the cheddar with whiskey in this recipe.

Cavatappi Pasta in Cheddar with whiskey and Colby mac and cheese

One of the most important decisions to make when developing a mac and cheese recipe is the pasta size. If your noodle is too large, your dish will be cumbersome and difficult to eat. On the other hand, if your pasta is too small your dish will be a soupy mess. Dan Pashman coined the phrase “forkability” when he was developing his pasta shape, and this perfectly defines the perfect mac and cheese noodle. It’s in that perfect Goldilocks spot between too large and too small.

In today’s recipe I used cavatappi. It’s medium sized and offers plenty of curves to hold onto sauce making every bite full of cheesy flavor.

Toppings

Toppings can take a good mac and cheese to great. They add extra layers of texture, flavor, and color that you won’t otherwise get from cheese sauce and pasta.

In today’s recipe I used crispy onions and Asiago crisps. Crispy onions add texture and onion flavor and balances perfectly with the other flavors in the mac and cheese. Asiago crisps add more closer flavor and a crunchy texture.

Reheating Cheddar with whiskey and Colby mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is notoriously difficult to reheat. While delicious the first day, zapping it in the microwave will yield a gross, greasy mess. With that said, I’ve noticed that roux-based mac and cheese reheats beautifully. A minute or two in the microwave and you’ll have perfectly creamy mac and cheese. In fact, letting it mingle in the fridge for a couple of days will make it even better than the day you made it.

Add a Fork

Cheddar with whiskey and Colby blend together beautifully in a mac and cheese layered with crispy onions and Asiago crisps for a delicious mac and cheese layered with interest.

Cheddar with whiskey and Colby mac and cheese recipe

Cheddar with whiskey and Colby blend together beautifully in a mac and cheese layered with crispy onions and Asiago crisps for a delicious mac and cheese layered with interest.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound cavatappi Or other medium sized pasta

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 3 cups Whole milk
  • 4 oz cheddar with whiskey Grated
  • 4 oz Colby Grated
  • 1/2 tbsp Better than bullion Chicken flavor
  • 1 tsp Ground mustard

Toppings

  • Crispy Onions
  • Asiago crisps

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in well salted water. If you think it’s salty enough, add more.

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. Stir in mustard powder and Better than Bullion
  • 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.

Plate your Pasta

  • Layer pasta with crispy onions and Asiago crisps. Serve immediately.