Individual Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Individual Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

I promised you mac and cheese by the end of the week, and I’m delivering.  This macaroni and cheese is silky and creamy and is made special with tangy goat cheese both in the sauce and dotting the crunchy top.  I could make a meal out of the crunchy mac and cheese top.  (Dream meal).
I wanted a single serving mac and cheese so I wouldn’t feel guilty about monopolizing the crunchy topping, which I have been known to do.  Individual servings ensure fairness and also ensure that no one will encroach on your crunchy toppings.  Extra goat cheese on my serving?  Well, I am the chef, so I can do what I want.

Let’s get started.

This mac and cheese is started like all good mac and cheeses are: with butter and flour.

Two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of flour are combined until it forms a paste.

 

We’re making béchamel!  Next comes the milk.  Whisk constantly while slowly adding the milk.  Clumps may form, but they’ll smooth out with whisking.  Add seasoning:  a little cayenne pepper, some mustard powder, salt, and pepper.


Whisk that together then add the cheese.

I used a combination of sharp white cheddar, soft goat cheese, gouda, and fontina; the latter of the two are great melting cheeses.
Add 1/3 cups each of sharp white cheddar, fontina, and gouda slowly to the béchamel sauce.  Whisk while you add the shredded cheese.  Next add about 2 ounces (half a 4 ounce log of goat cheese) to the mix.  Whisk and lower the heat.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  If it’s too thick add a little milk.
Meanwhile, you’ve cooked your mac.  It’s mac and cheese, so you’ve cooked your mac, right?
I used cavatappi pasta because it’s got lots of nooks and crannies for cheese sauce.  That’s important.  Add the cheese sauce to the pasta and stir gently to combine.
Divide the pasta into individual oven-proof dishes.  I just made two, but this recipe makes enough for 4 huge servings, or 6 normal servings.  I like the huge servings.
Dot the tops with additional goat cheese and extra shredded cheddar.
Add some panko breadcrumbs and spray some cooking spray on top then transfer to the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are quite golden brown.  Watch these, the timing may vary based on your oven temperature.  You just want them to be nice and crunchy and golden.
These individual pots of mac and cheese are creamy, tangy, and crunchy.  I love all of those things.  The extra goat cheese is just heavenly.
The best part about this is that you don’t have to share.  Buy some oven-proof crocks, or use some vintage ones like we have.  You’ll feel like you are at a restaurant and you won’t have to share.  Bonus!
Here’s the recipe.

Individual Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups skim milk (of course you can use whole milk–I use skim because after all that cheese I can’t tell the difference.  You do you.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese, plus 1/4 cup extra for topping
  • 1/3 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated gouda cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, divided
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (more or less)
  • cooking spray

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook cavatappi according to package directions, minus 1 minute.  You want the pasta to be very al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add flour and whisk, forming a paste.  Add milk slowly, whisking constantly.  Whisk until no more clumps are present.  Add seasonings and whisk.  Add cheddar, fontina, gouda, and two ounces of goat cheese.  Whisk until thick, adding more milk if it’s too thick.
  3. Add cheese sauce to the pasta and stir to combine.  Divide macaroni into individual oven-proof crocks and top with remaining 2 ounces of goat cheese, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, panko bread crumbs, and finally a spray of cooking spray.  Transfer crocks to oven and bake until the top is very crunchy and golden brown.  The cheese should be bubbly, too.
  4. Serve right away, possibly with a green salad with a really acidic dressing, or just by themselves.

Enjoy!

 

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