I love this time of year. First Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then a New Year…woo hoo! The wonderful string of holidays almost makes up for the constant drizzle that has now socked in Seattle. As the days turn cooler and the haunting begins, a gloriously devilish idea curls into my head, like a low-lying mist creeping up from the ground. Not just a bleu cheese mac and cheese, but a black and blue mac and cheese! Mwahahahaha!
This mac and cheese features the usual suspects (butter, milk, cheese, pasta) with some interesting add-ins: black sesame seeds, bleu cheese, cream cheese, and if you’re feeling really naughty, blue food coloring to give the mac a perfectly lovely undead hue.
I decided to go with the classic elbow shape for the pasta this time, since I was ghouling-it-up in other parts of the recipe. I also made sure to use extra-sharp white cheddar cheese so that the blue food coloring could produce a bluish hue rather than a greenish one which might have occurred had I used a yellow cheese. I boiled water, and then cooked the pasta according to the package directions. After the pasta was cooked, it was rinsed, drained and set aside.
While the elbows were cooking, I chunked up the cheese. I used an extra-sharp white cheddar from Tillamook and it was so aged and crumbly that there was no need to shred it. When they say “Vintage” white cheddar, they aren’t messing around!
Next, I started the roux. The butter went into a large pot (the same one I used to cook the elbows) and once melted, I whisked in the flour. After cooking and whisking for about three minutes, I slowly added the milk and continued to whisk. The mixture then cooked over medium heat for about six minutes (whisking frequently) and then was removed from the heat.
The minced garlic and chives, blue food coloring, cream cheese, bleu cheese, black sesame seeds and salt and pepper were added to the mixture and stirred until everything was all happy-melty-gooey. I used about five drops of blue food coloring to get the bluish tinge of an unhealthy pallor that you see here. Of course, if you are making this mac and cheese any time other than Halloween, go ahead and omit the food coloring altogether.
Once the sauce is incorporated, stir in the elbows. After the sauce and pasta are mixed together, spoon the mac and cheese into a Pammed large casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes, then remove and let rest for an additional five minutes. Garnish with some additional black sesame seeds and chives. And for a truly special Halloween look, add an additional two drops of blue food coloring to a spoon and swirl the spoon through the mac and cheese, causing lovely moldy-looking streaks to appear throughout the dish. Yummy!
I loved the unexpected depth of flavor that the bleu cheese brought to this mac and cheese. Four elbows up! And the black sesame seeds added a nice crunch and texture. The subtle bite of the garlic and chives also shone through – overall, a sublime symphony of flavors! I’ll definitely be making this one year-round, sans the blue food coloring.
Here’s my recipe.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups fat-free milk
- 2 cups + ½ cup Tillamook extra-sharp white cheddar, divided
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces bleu cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chives, minced
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 5 - 7 drops blue food coloring
- 1 pound elbow pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large casserole dish liberally with Pam.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Rinse, drain, and set aside.
- In the same large pot, melt butter and once melted, add flour and whisk. Cook for three minutes, until it begins to smell slightly nutty.
- Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Once the milk is incorporated, cook over medium heat for six minutes, whisking frequently.
- Remove the pot from heat. Add garlic, chives, sesame seeds, two cups of cheddar, cream cheese, bleu cheese, four drops food coloring and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until everything is melted and incorporated.
- Add the pasta and stir until well-mixed.
- Spoon the mac and cheese into the casserole dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.
- Bake for fifteen minutes, then remove and let sit for five minutes.
- Top with additional black sesame seeds and chives.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
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