Our take on classic mac & cheese has been adjusted for your slow cooker and ease of use. Ingredients and preparation methods all serve toward making the ultimate mac & cheese. This easy one-pot version of mac and cheese can either be made in a slow cooker or baked in a Dutch oven or clay pot.
1. Mix milk, evaporated milk, salt, pepper and smoked paprika and pour in a coated slow cooker or alternatively a Dutch oven or clay pot.
2. Add the uncooked macaroni pasta.
3. Top the macaroni with grated Castello® Extra Mature Cheddar and chunks of butter. Stir and make sure the macaroni pasta is covered by the milk mixture and cheese.
4. Place the lid and cook for 2.5 hours at low heat.
5. If you are using a Dutch oven or clay pot bake for 50-60 minutes at 350° F.
Slow means flavor and keeping your slow cooker at a steady pace when cooking your mac & cheese allows the cooker to enhance all of the great nuances and tones of your ingredients. Leave it in the kitchen while you head out, or let it work in the background while you focus on other things. There are many ways to prepare your mac & cheese in a slow cooker, you name it - we have tried it. Adding the macaroni uncooked at the beginning, along with everything else, results in a perfect consistency every time. Since your cooker is tightly sealed, liquid tends to reduce at a much slower rate than in a normal pan, meaning your pasta will cook in the cream. Adding extra water will not be necessary and cooking with nothing but the liquid from the sauce leads to unsaturated and strong flavors.
Traditional cheese sauce is not meant for longer cooking, and risk clotting and separating after prolonged exposure to heat. To prevent the sauce from curdling, and to ensure that you get that silky-smooth texture of the cream in your slow cooker, evaporated milk gives the best results. For taste and depth, depending on what you prefer, our Castello® Extra Mature Cheddar and Castello® Aged Havarti act as high points in any mac & cheese, either on their own or together. The thick and crumbly texture from having been aged easily melts and mixes and promotes that characteristic and universally loved mac & cheese flavor with a satisfyingly sharp finish.
Take inspiration from some of the many other variations of mac & cheese, if you feel like adding a bit of extra zest and character. Mix and match your recipe with meats and vegetables as you please, just make sure to consider how they respond to being slow cooked. You could even replace the macaroni with cauliflower for a healthier and equally delicious dish. Cauliflower and cheese is a match made in heaven. Simply replace the macaroni with cauliflower, and follow the recipe as you normally would. Try it as a main dish, or treat your guests to a cauliflower and cheese side dish extravaganza.