Two kind of irritating situations came together to make this macaroni and cheese possible. 1) I was almost out of regular milk. 2) I had a lot of buttermilk to use up. I had no idea buttermilk mac and cheese even existed, but of course a quick internet search proved that wrong.
This starts out like most mac and cheese recipes: with a white sauce and some shredded cheddar that’s tossed with cooked pasta. Some people are happy to stop with that, but I sprinkled some cheese and bread crumbs on top and baked it for about 20 minutes. I think that extra step was definitely worth it! Although I grew up on a very basic baked macaroni and cheese recipe that didn’t have any extra seasonings, I really liked the garlic and mustard here. I’m probably not going to abandon either of my other two mac and cheese recipes (here and here) but this will definitely be added to the rotation!
If 3 cups of cheese seems like a lot, I have to say, I agree. This stuff is rich. But after a 10 mile run on a crisp fall day it totally hit the spot!
(adapted from Tillamook Cheese)
8 ounces dried macaroni or fusili, cooked according to package directions and drained
3 tbsp butter
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the buttermilk and milk and stir well. Turn up the heat slightly. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, garlic powder, and 3 cups of cheese. Stir until smooth.
Toss with the pasta, then pour into the casserole dish. Top with the remaining half cup of cheese and sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, then let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.