OKAY, to the mac and cheese guys!
Well, it isn’t strictly mac and cheese because we didn’t have macaroni… so I used fusilli and penne instead. But that’s just a technicality right? You’ll forgive me once you know that I went and put TORTELLINI IN IT TOO. Uh, yeah.
I used spinach and ricotta, but it would be v v good with some kind of pumpkin-filled ravioli, or even…. four cheese ravioli…(? is that pushing it..? Do the cheese police come for you if you have pentuple cheese recipes?)
Regardless of that, I’ve found two other ingredients which will make the cheese sauce of you DREAMS. Ready?
Cream cheese and buttermilk. Tangy dairy, in other words. They just makes it 1000% better, more cheesy, more tangy, more flavoury (word?). Just the best, basically.
- 1 1/2 cups of dry pasta of your choice
- 1 ( 9 oz/250 g ) package of fresh tortellini or ravioli (small ish one are better)
For the Sauce:
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 clove of garlic , , minced
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk , (I used 1%)
- 5 oz of grated Cheddar cheese , (mature is best because it gives more flavour. I used a mixture of Gruyère and Cheddar)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk , (or 1/2 cup more milk + 2 tbsp of buttermilk powder)
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- salt + pepper
For the herby-breadcrumb topping:
- 2 tsp butter
- 1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs
- ~1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- salt + pepper
- ~1 oz Parmesan or Cheddar cheese , , grated
- Cook the dry pasta until al dente (usually 2 minutes less than instructed on the packet). (Don't cook the tortellini/ravioli). Drain, and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (225 degrees C).
- To make the sauce: add the butter and garlic to a medium saucepan and stir over a medium heat for a minute or two, just to cook the garlic a little. Add the flour and stir (I like using a whisk) until you get a smooth paste. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Very gradually, add the first 1/2 cup of milk to the pan, stirring it in as you do. Mix in the cream cheese, then slowly add the rest of the milk. Continue to heat the mixture, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes until you can tell it has thickened. Stir in the buttermilk (or buttermilk powder + milk), and the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir the pasta into the sauce, then pour into a large,oven proof dish.
- Make the breadcrumb topping by melting the butter in a small frying pan, add the breadcrumbs, thyme and salt and pepper. Toast over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until crisped. Scatter the grated Parmesan/Cheddar evenly over the surface of the pasta, followed by the breadcrumbs. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.