Perfect Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Perfect Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a bad Macaroni and Cheese. Let’s face it, a plate of pasta and cheese sauce going to be pretty good no matter the recipe you start with. But when I enjoyed a bowl of the famous Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese when I was in Seattle, I realized that macaroni and cheese could be more than just good – it could be really great. I think it was great for two reasons – it had lots of a wonderful creamy sauce and it was made with a really great cheese (and it makes a huge difference!).

So like all food-obsessed people, I turned to the internet to find a recipe that might be a reasonable facsimile. I discovered not a facsimile, but the actual recipe for Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese (they had apparently published it in their cookbook). Of course, there was still one problem – I was in Canada and Beecher’s cheese was not. Of course, Beecher’s cheddar is great and you can definitely use it if you can get your hands on some, but the British, Irish and my fellow Canadians make a pretty mean cheddar themselves, so it was just a matter of finding a really great, aged cheddar to fill in.

Coastal CheddarI sampled a number of candidates (all in the name of “research”, of course :) and settled on a mature British Cheddar called “Coastal”. I loved it’s combination of sharp cheddar flavour with a bit of nuttiness. It’s worth seeking out. I found it at my local Walmart, but I believe it’s also available at Costco and probably any place that has a good sized collection of nice cheeses. If you can’t find it, use any great cheddar that you might pick up for a special occasion.

This isn’t the exact Beecher’s recipe, but it is certainly based on it. Of course, the cheese is different, but it is also comes about as a result of a “happy accident” I made when preparing the published Beecher’s recipe for the first time. You see, I failed to properly read the instructions and added all 4 cups of the cheese sauce to the dish, instead of the specified 2 cups. Yes, I accidentally doubled the sauce and found macaroni and cheese heaven! It should be no surprise, of course. If 2 cups of cheese sauce is good, 4 cups has to be great, right? And great it was. The combination of extra, creamy sauce with really great cheddar was perfect.

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Experiment with your favourite cheeses and make your own signature dish. I loved the combination of the nutty Coastal with the sharp Canadian MacLaren’s Imperial cold-packed cheese. (Using two different ones gives a nice depth of cheese flavour). I topped mine off with a bit of Extra Old Balderson Cheddar.

Adapted from Beecher’s macaroni and cheese recipe

21 Comments

  • Reply January 14, 2013

    Liz

    Wow, this looks great Jennifer! You can never go wrong with good ol’ mac & cheese!

    • Reply January 14, 2013

      Jennifer M

      Thanks Liz. In this house, mac and cheese is the comfort food of choice. It cures what’s ailing, not matter what that is ;)

  • Reply January 15, 2013

    belllini

    I have tried this at Pike Place Market and made it at home with their cheeses. I do like the idea of it being extra creamy with the added sauce so I will seek out great cheese here in British Columbia and try my go to recipe once again.

    • Reply January 15, 2013

      Jennifer M

      Enjoy Bellini. I’m sure you’ll find some great cheese options at home, too.

  • Reply January 17, 2013

    Sophie

    This is great, Jennifer! I love the research you put into this :) I make a very similar recipe, but I never bake mine — we eat it straight from the pot. I should try baking it! And I should try using a nice cheese instead of just an economical one :) Yumm! It’s lunchtime!

    • Reply January 17, 2013

      Jennifer M

      I love food research ;) I usually find that the baking part dries out mac & cheese, but not this one. It’s very, very saucy before baking and just perfect after 20 min in the oven. And what a revelation it was for me to find what a difference great cheese makes (I was like you and usually just grabbed the big block of Kraft Old).

  • Reply February 7, 2013

    Joann

    This really is the best macaroni & cheese I’ve ever made & it really is about good cheese. I used about 7 oz of sharp & 3 oz of coastal smoked cheese & it was perfect. You had me with the picture alone.

    • Reply February 7, 2013

      Jennifer M

      So glad you enjoyed it, Joann! I hear you about the picture. Every time I see it, I want to get up and head to the kitchen and make some ;)

  • Reply February 28, 2013

    Elizabeth

    I made this last night. It was SO GOOD. I had a stomach ache because I ate too much; it was that delicious. We used about half sharp cheddar and half pepperjack, because it was what was in the fridge! Sprinkled in some mustard and cayenne as well. Yum!!

    • Reply February 28, 2013

      Jennifer M

      Glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth.

  • Reply March 2, 2013

    Abeje

    The recipe looks great! However, I’m confused about the pasta measurement, is it just 1 2/3 cups or the whole box?

    • Reply March 2, 2013

      Jennifer M

      Hi Abeje, I always weigh my pasta, but to help people out who don’t have scales, after I weighed it, I put it into a 2-cup glass measure and it measured out to 1 2/3 cups. If your box happens to be 8oz. then the whole box would work, too (as long as it’s macaroni). Hope that helps.

  • Reply March 31, 2013

    Viv

    Perfect comfort food! looks so rich and satisfying, love the hint of spice too! :)

    • Reply March 31, 2013

      Jennifer M

      Thanks Viv. Yes, my daughter was fond on the chili powder. She puts extra on hers.

  • Reply November 29, 2013

    sandra

    Amazing page!
    Yummy food!

    • Reply November 29, 2013

      Jennifer M

      Thanks Sandra :)

  • Reply February 13, 2014

    Josie

    I just happened to come across this this morning and decided to try it for lunch. I ended up halving it and using Penne pasta (since it was all I had on hand) and it was SO good! I’ve tried a lot of different mac and cheese recipe and this is the first one that I will absolutely be making again:)

    Thanks!

    • Reply February 13, 2014

      Jennifer M

      Glad you enjoyed it, Josie. Beecher’s uses penne for their famous mac and cheese.

  • Reply April 19, 2014

    heather

    This was by far the best mac and cheese my fiance and I have ever made!!! I made this for my potluck lunch on Friday for work ….but instead of tossing it into the oven after we finished on the stove top I put it into a crockpot then into the over night. Then once I got into the office on Friday put the crockpot on and let it get warm. Everyone in my office LOVED IT! I actually doubled the recipe and had enough left over just for my fiance and I…which then we ate for lunch today! SO SO SO GOOD! Def. will be making again.

    • Reply April 19, 2014

      Jennifer M

      So glad you enjoyed it, Heather. My favourite!

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