Are you looking for a seriously easy mac and cheese recipe that’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser? Look no further than this recipe. And it is endlessly versatile!
Mayonnaise seems to polarize people. You either love it or you cannot stand it! Me, I love it. I grew up in the Midwest and I think love for mayo, along with random, weird-inclusion, jello salads (seriously, there is one in my family that calls for orange jello, shredded carrots, pineapple and maraschino cherries…and my grandma would top it with a dollop of mayo – I kid you not) comes with the territory. Or perhaps it’s just me. If so, don’t burst my damn bubble.
Anyway, I love mayo. The hubs hates it, as does his mom, but they’re just wrong. As a mayonnaise lover, I am loyal to a classic: Best Foods (Hellman’s east of the Rocky Mountains). And it has to be the regular, full-fat version. None of this light (ick) or fat-free (yuck!) or olive-oil (meh) mayo, give me the original. So when I was on a food forum awhile back and I started hearing about how amazing Duke’s mayo was, of course I needed to check it out and taste for myself. Since we’re in the golden era of buy-anything-you-could-ever-need-online, I hopped onto the Duke’s website and ordered some mayo for myself. Just to be sure, I ordered a few containers. And while I was on the site, I happened to see the recipes section. Which is where I found their recipe for Duke’s Mayo Mac & Cheese!
Are you still with me? Good. So my Duke’s mayo came and I was pretty excited to try it. I tried it plain (mayo lovers, tell me that dipping into a virgin container of mayo for a small taste is not heaven), then in a sandwich, then in tuna salad, and then atop the aforementioned orange jello salad. Yes, I am serious.
And then finally, I tried it out in the Duke’s Mac & Cheese recipe.
As recipes go, this one is wonderfully simple: pasta, cheese, mayo and sour cream. I decided to fancy it up just a bit, simply because that is what I had in the pantry. Barilla campanelle (because I love the little horn shape), Duke’s Mayonnaise, Tillamook sour cream, and Beecher’s Flagship and Smoked Flagship cheeses. Because it was my first time trying the recipe, I kept it at the main ingredients and didn’t add any additions like seasonings, bread crumbs or chives.
I cooked the campanelle per the instructions on the box, then drained the pasta. I shredded the cheese, and measured out the sour cream and mayo.
Then I preheated the oven to 325 degrees and Pammed a 13×9 baking dish.
I popped everything into the large pot in which I’d cooked the pasta, then gave it all a good stir.
Once everything was happily combined, I popped it into the baking dish and into the oven it went for thirty minutes.
Looks pretty amazing, right? I let it sit for five minutes, to ensure that it set just enough to take it from “sloppy” to “gooey”.
We kept it simple and cooked some beef kielbasa to go along with the mac and cheese for dinner.
Time to dish up the mac and cheese. Creamy is the first thing that came to mind when I tasted it. Then came the subtle smokiness of the Smoked Flagship cheese, followed by just a hint of tang from the mayo.
Overall, a wonderful flavor combination! I believe the smoky cheese saved it from being just a tad bland. Three and a half elbows up for this one, and honestly it could be in the five-elbow range with some modifications – and to be fair, I love bold flavors so it will be perfect as is for most folks. Next time, I may halve the amount of sour cream as while it helped make the mac and cheese creamy, it also may have thrown a blanket on some of the flavor that may have otherwise shown through. But because of the simplicity of this recipe, it is an ideal dish for a crowd! So, who’s up for a dinner party?
Here is my recipe, adapted from Duke’s.
- 16 ounces campanelle or other short pasta, cooked
- 2 cups Beecher's Flagship or other Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 cups Beecher's Smoked Flagship or other smoky cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Duke's mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Liberally Pam a 13x9 baking dish.
- In a large pot, add cooked pasta, cheeses, mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir to combine.
- Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the Pammed baking dish.
- Bake, uncovered, for thirty minutes and allow the mac and cheese to rest for five minutes prior to serving.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
A crowd-pleaser, indeed!