Creamy Baked Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese is just that: baked and melty and cheesy with a crunchy bread crumb topping that is very optional but very delicious!
For this post, I teamed up with Le Creuset! I love and use their cookware nearly every single day so this truly is a dream come true.
I was very lucky to have been sent a few pieces from their new fall collection and let me tell, it is all so gorgeous! In this post, for this recipe, I’ll be using the 5-quart Dutch Oven in Persimmon and their 6-quart Casserole Dish in Persimmon. As you can see, Persimmon is a beautiful autumnal orange color that is perfect for any Thanksgiving table. Honestly the color, while super fall-like, looks good year around and is perfect for baking in the oven and then going straight to the table.
Macaroni and Cheese Basics!
I love stove-top macaroni and cheese. It’s creamy and delicious. I’ve always struggled with baked macaroni and cheese because it can dry out very quickly. I didn’t want that for this macaroni and cheese so here are some things that we did in order to achieve creamy while baked.
1. More sauce. The saucier the macaroni and cheese is, the less likely it’ll dry out in the oven. In my opinion, it’s a bit too saucy for a stove-top macaroni and cheese, but for a baked version the ratios are perfect. 2. Rinse off the pasta. I NEVER rinse my pasta but in this case, I want to get rid of any extra starch that will contribute to a thicker sauce. I learned this tip from The Kitchenista!
3. Liberal amount of cheese! This recipe uses a pound of cheese. More info below on the type of cheeses and breakdown, but you need a good amount of cheese in order to make it, well, cheesy! 4. Crunchy top! Some people LOVE a crunchy bread-crumb topping. Others want more cheese. I say you do you! I personally think a bread crumb topping is the move.
I kissed a lot of cornbread frogs before I landed on this perfect Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. This cornbread has crispy edges, a super moist crumb, flavorful (thanks to the cheese, cornmeal and jalapeño), it’s a teeny bit sweet and is delicious for days after.
Before we dive in, let’s discuss what I love and want from cornbread.
Cornbread history has it that it first started with Native Americans grinding corn into cornmeal and mixing it with water and cooking it over a fire. It was simple back then. It evolved over time; people added buttermilk, leavening, pork fat, salt…all the good things. They often times cooked it on a gardening hoe, over an open flame, hence the name “hoe cake.”
Thanksgiving is merely a few weeks away and we gotta get ready! Today I couldn’t be more excited to share these Cacio e Pepe Mashed Potatoes with you all. They’re buttery, peppery, slightly tart and utterly perfect.
For this post, I teamed up with Le Creuset!! Woohoo! I have always loved my Le Creuset cookware and have used it all up on this blog over and over and over again. Le Creuset is truly my kitchen ally. I love it for numerous reasons but here are just a few:
– My Le Creuset cookware is incredibly multi-functional. I use the Dutch ovens to make everything from arroz con pollo to soups to—in this case—boiling potatoes. – Since Le Creuset is so beautiful, it’s easy to take it from oven or stove directly to the table. – The enamel coating on the inside of their cookware make them super easy to clean. A few light scrubs and BOOM…squeaky clean, looking like new!
In this post, I’m using their gorgeous Dutch oven in the color Truffle. And while I absolutely think it’s possible to put the Dutch oven on the table, it was a bit dark inside and wasn’t photographing the way I wanted so I transferred it to the 2 1/4-quart braiserin Persimmon.
These fall colors are a gorgeous addition to my Thanksgiving autumnal table.
I think it’s time to jump into the mood!
What is Cacio e Pepe?
Let’s tackle the basics: Cacio e Pepe which literally translates to “cheese and pepper.” It’s a dish that hails from Rome, italy and it’s typically super simple. It involves a bucatini pasta tossed in a simple sauce of Pecorino Romano, black pepper, salt and starch water from boiling the pasta. It’s ridiculously simple but like all simple dishes, the technique and precision is everything.