I grew up on boxed mac and cheese. My mother didn't use convenience foods very often. In fact, hot dogs were a Christmas treat for us because that's the only time of the year we got to eat them! But that blue box of mac and cheese was an exception and an occasional treat.
I didn't taste homemade mac and cheese until I made it myself. And it was fine. Not really worth the effort, I thought, especially since you could fancy up the boxed variety with more cheese, sauteed onions, and mustard.
Until I tried this recipe. I had made Indulgent Mac and Cheese before, and it is really good, but there's something about the combination of flavors and textures in this recipe that makes it my favorite. And the Alfredo sauce adds some emulsifiers to the sauce that means the sauce won't break or get grainy as it does in many baked mac and cheese recipes.
The pasta bakes right in the sauce in this wonder. You don't have to boil water and cook the pasta separately. That means the pasta absorbs more flavor from the sauce, the texture is simply wonderful; not too soft and not too hard.
Serve this great recipe with some mixed vegetables tossed with butter, a fruit salad, and a glass of white wine. Yes, mac and cheese deserves wine! For dessert, some brownies would be delicious.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1-1/2 cups 1% milk
- 1 (16 ounce) jar
- Alfredo sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 cups shredded Colby cheese
- 2 cups shredded Havarti cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 13" x 9" glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the sour cream and cottage cheese in a food processor or blender. Process or blend until the mixture is smooth.
When the onions and garlic are tender, add the sour cream mixture, the cream, milk, Alfredo sauce, and Dijon mustard.
Cook and stir, using a wire whisk, over medium low heat until the mixture starts to steam.
Add the Colby and Havarti cheeses to the skillet and stir. Then add the uncooked pasta before the cheeses are melted.
Pour everything into the prepared baking dish. Put the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch any spillover, although the mixture does fit perfectly into that size dish. Cover the dish with foil.
Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and stir the mixture gently but thoroughly.
Return the mac and cheese to the oven and bake 20 minutes longer. Remove and stir again. Top with the Parmesan cheese and return to the oven.
Bake for another 10 minutes or until the mac and cheese is bubbling around the edges. Serve.