In the Food Hall of Fame, there are lots of contenders for Best Duo. Bacon and eggs are a perennial favorite. Peanut butter and jelly are right up there. And who can deny the staying power of burgers and fries? But when it comes to the culinary duo that claims the hearts of diners young and old around the world, mac and cheese is the winner hands down.
Mac and cheese has everything you want from a home-cooked meal. The warmth of classic comfort food. The feel-good filling of pasta. The crunch of toasty breadcrumbs. And last but most certainly not least: the tangy, gooey goodness of melted cheese.
You know what's especially great about mac and cheese? You'll never run out of different ways to make it. Trust us: here in Wisconsin, we've tried. But when you have more than 600 styles, varieties, and flavors of Wisconsin cheese to choose from, there are virtually infinite ways to whip up a mac and cheese masterpiece. And that means mac and cheese are destined to be partners forever.
If you're looking for new takes on this most popular of dishes, our website is full of great ideas. And for a few tips on creating Hall of Fame homemade mac and cheese recipe, read on.
Ready to impress your diners with some heavenly mac and cheese? Don an apron, bring your imagination, and follow these guideposts on the path to mac and cheese nirvana.
It takes two or more kinds of cheeses to hit a homerun with mac and cheese. You want a cheese that brings a ton of flavor, and you'll need a cheese that melts like a dream. A few varieties have dual superpowers – cheddar or gruyere and other cheese fondue favorites are varieties that taste great and melt well. But generally, you'll want to combine two or more cheeses to get the perfect balance of creamy goodness and tangy flavor.
Sleek, skinny noodles have no business in a mac and cheese recipe. Cheese prefers the curvy pastas like macaroni, penne, cavatappi, rotini and rigatoni. The tunnels, crannies and nooks in these noodles are perfect for trapping the gooey goodness of melted cheese.
Melt your cheese slowly over low heat to avoid ending up with lumps.
If you're making a baked mac and cheese, undercook your pasta by a minute or two so that it goes into the oven a little firm. That way it won't be a mushy mess when it comes out. If you're making a crock pot mac and cheese, use the low heat setting to avoid overcooking the pasta.
Pasta & cheese are essential, but you can add most anything to mac and cheese. Cajun shrimp? Creamy chicken and broccoli? Balsamic grilled onions and smoked bacon? All of the above, please.
People have been pairing cheese and pasta for centuries There are noodles and cheese recipes recorded in Italy as early as the late 1200s. Thomas Jefferson is known to have brought back noodle recipes to America after a trip to France, and he served mac and cheese at a state dinner in 1802. Macaroni and cheese became a staple of the American diet during the Great Depression.
A great mac and cheese recipe needs two kinds of cheeses: one that melts well and one that brings big flavor. Cheeses known to melt like a dream include Monterey Jack, fontina, baby swiss, and mozzarella. Flavor divas include cheeses like smoked gouda, havarti, bleu cheese and limburger. Several cheeses check both boxes: try cheddar or any alpine-style variety like emmentaler or gruyere cheese.
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When you want to see some happy pasta (and some big smiles at the dinner table), introduce your macaroni to Wisconsin cheese. Your mac is sure to appreciate the incredible quality of cheese from Wisconsin's dairy land. Our goudas, parmesans, gorgonzolas, and hundreds of others have been winning awards left and right. And your pasta will have lots of cheese to choose from, since we make one-quarter of all the cheese in America and nearly half of all the nation's artisan cheese. There are cheeses like Colby, muenster, and brick that are homegrown favorites. And there are varieties from other places that have found perfection here in Wisconsin: aged cheddar, burrata, havarti, oaxaca and romano to name a few.
That's what happens when you've been making cheese for 180 years – and when you're a state where everybody dreams in cheese. So, next time you're preparing a mac and cheese dinner, make your mac feel special and pair it with a cheese from Wisconsin.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.