This post is part of YummyMummyClub.ca’s and Campbell’s “Quick and Easy Meal Ideas” sponsored program. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.
At a young age, I grew a love for all things Mac n’ Cheese. This love has continued to blossom over the years. If I could consume a bowl of ooey-gooey, cheesy Mac n’ Cheese daily… you can bet your dollars that I would.
I don’t make Mac n’ Cheese nearly as often as I would like. Quite frankly, I don’t have the time. The whole process generally involves a lot of prep work. Plus, the idea of having children hanging off my legs, as I cook a gourmet, comforting dish on a week night just isn’t all that appealing to me.
I have experimented with many recipes over the years. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Campbell’s Stock First Cream Stock that I realized how easily and quickly I could whip up a gourmet dish of Mac n’ Cheese. A dish that even pleased the stomachs of my picky toddler and preschooler. Not often do I whip up a meal that my children will eat without a little bit of arm twisting.
To whip up this delicious creation, simply cook your pasta according to directions and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan or deep frying pan sauté the bacon pieces over medium heat until cooked. In my case, I used pre-cooked bacon. I sautéed the bacon until it was warm through.
Add mushrooms and onions to the pan. Continue to sauté for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Add garlic and smoked paprika, and cook for 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium low, add cream stock and thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer.
I loved the ease of using the Campbell’s Stock First Cream Stock. It eliminated the extra step of having to create a roux. A step that I usually screw up, and end up with a curdled, cheesy cream sauce. The texture of the stock was velvety smooth. It was the perfect creamy base for a Mac n’ Cheese, and an excellent substitution to use in place of a roux.
Once the stock is brought to a gentle simmer add 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Mix until smoothly blended into the sauce. Remove from heat.
Add cooked pasta noodles and stir to evenly coat with sauce. Transfer the pasta to an ovenproof casserole dish. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs, ½ cup of cheddar cheese, and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.
Broil uncovered for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
If you can hold out, let stand for a few minutes before serving!
Trust me when I say – this dish will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more!
Aged Cheddar & Parmesan Mac
1 box (500 g) fusilli
4 to 6 strips bacon, cut into ½” (1.5 cm) pieces (I used pre-cooked bacon)
1 small onion, diced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 1 tbsp of minced garlic, jarred)
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 carton CAMPBELL’S Stock First™ Cream stock
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded 5-year old cheddar (1½ cups for the sauce, ½ cup for topping) (I used a 3-Cheese blend)
¼ cup bread crumbs
1. Cook rigatoni following directions on package and set aside.
2. In a heavy bottom sauce pot or Dutch oven sauté bacon pieces over medium heat until cooked. Add onion and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Add garlic and smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute more.
3. Lower heat to medium low, add cream stock and thyme and gently simmer, gradually adding 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese, until smoothly blended into sauce.
4. Add cooked pasta noodles and stir to completely coat with sauce. If using a pot, transfer to an ovenproof casserole dish otherwise leave Mac & Cheese in Dutch oven. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs and top with ½ cup of cheddar cheese and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Broil uncovered for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
For an even more indulgent version of this recipe, use sausage meat instead of bacon.
For a more elegant variation try using a more artisanal cheese like Oka or cave aged Gruyere. Ask your
cheese monger for suggestions!
I bet you can’t tell me that your mouth isn’t watering after reading this post. I know mine is!
Quick and easy, family-friendly meal options (like the one I’ve just shared with you) are staples in our house. This is why whenever I’m in a pinch I turn to the Cook With Campbell’s website for recipe inspiration. My pantry tends to always be chucked full of the essential staples needed to prepare any of the dishes noted on the Cook With Campbell’swebsite. The recipes are ones that can easily be on the table in less than 30 minutes, and take minimal effort to prepare. My 3-year old daughter appreciates the recipes because it makes being Mommy’s kitchen assistant fool proof.