Since taking my little blogging break, I've been saving new recipes to make once I started up again. Not that I haven't been cooking at all, but for some reason I felt bad every time that I made a new recipe and didn't share it with you. So I've been cooking my old favorites for the last couple months, and I couldn't wait to break out this new recipe.
Most macaroni and cheese recipes (at least good ones) require you to make a bechamel sauce, which is really time consuming. When I saw this recipe on Annie's Eats, I was so excited that this was such a simple recipe that could be made on any weeknight (even the most busy ones). It did not disappoint. This is a super creamy, nutty mac & cheese, not resembling the orange powdery kind in any way.
1 lb. small or medium pasta shells
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.
Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave. Cover to keep warm.
Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well. Stir in the warm cream and the Fontina until the cheese starts to melt. Mix in salt to taste, and add the nutmeg.
Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan. Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.
Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Source: Annie's Eats, originally from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop