Cheddar with Port Wine and Colby Mac and Cheese Recipe

Cheddar with port wine and Colby mac and cheese is our 18th recipe in the Aldi cheese advent calendar. Topped with crispy onions, this recipe is perfect as an entree on its own or on the side of a more substantial meal.

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Using Cheese in Mac and Cheese

When you take a bite of cheese, I want you to pay attention to where the flavor starts to develop. Sometimes it’s immediate but fades away quickly. These are what I call opener cheeses. You want to include an opener cheese in your mac and cheese recipes because they will open up the bowl with cheesy flavor. Other cheeses take a few seconds for the flavor to make an appearance but it carries throughout the bowl. These are closer cheeses, and they help round out mac and cheese recipes so the cheesy flavor remains the entire time you’re eating it.

Cheddar with Port Wine

Cheddar is one of my favorite cheeses to use in a recipe. It’s easy to get your hands on and you can confidently rely on its flavor to remain consistent. Cheddar is one of the best examples of opener cheeses and it’s perfect for opening up a bowl.

However, opener and closer factors aren’t exclusive to cheese flavors. The port wine in this cheese rounds out the end of the bite, so it could reasonably be its own pairing.

Colby Cheese

Colby is a bright orange opener cheese created in the United States. It has lots of great opener flavor but is mild enough to avoid overpowering other ingredients in the bowl.

Penne Pasta in Cheddar with Port Wine and Colby Mac and Cheese

Pasta is one of the most important ingredients in mac and cheese. If your pasta is too large, your dish will be cumbersome and annoying to eat. On the other hand, if your pasta is too small you lose valuable texture experience and run the risk of your mac and cheese being a soupy mess.

Penne sits in the perfect Goldilocks spot between too large and too small. It offers plenty of space for holding onto sauce so every bite is full of cheesy goodness.

Toppings

While all you really need for good mac and cheese is pasta and cheese sauce, toppings can take a good mac and cheese to great. Toppings add extra layers of texture, flavor, and color and help give mac and cheese a little extra oomf.

In this recipe, I used crispy onions. They add a great texture and savory flavor that elevates mac and cheese.

Reheating Cheddar with Port Wine and Colby Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is notoriously difficult to reheat. You generally have to eat it the day of or you’ll be left with a greasy mess. However, I’ve seen roux based sauces reheat beautifully. Just zap it in the microwave for a minute or two and you’ll have hot, creamy, delicious mac and cheese. In fact, letting the ingredients mingle together in the fridge for a couple of days gives you even better mac and cheese than they day you made it.

Add a Fork

Cheddar with port wine and Colby mac and cheese topped with crispy onions is packed with food and perfect as its own meal or a side to a more substantial entree.

Cheddar with Port Wine and Colby Mac and Cheese Recipe

Cheddar with port wine and Colby mac and cheese topped with crispy onions is packed with food and perfect as its own meal or a side to a more substantial entree.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound penne Or other medium sized pasta

For the Sauce

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

Toppings

  • Crispy Onions

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. Serve immediately.
Keyword cheddar with port wine, colby, crispy onions, penne