Autumn is upon us, and you know what that means? It’s Mac & Cheese weather again! After doing the dance of joy in my kitchen, I decided to go big. Like Dr. Frankenstein, cobble-many-ingredients-together-and-see-what-happens, big.
Not just pasta, but a filled pasta! And one filled with four cheeses, no less. And not just cheese, but silky, nutty, so-deep-it-must-be-a-Philosophy-major, smoky Beecher’s Smoked Flagship cheese. Over the top, yes. And yet, it hits just the right note – like pairing leopard print with hot pink and somehow pulling the whole outfit off. Pull it off, we did. Sublimely so.
Since I was hitting Pike Place Market for some luscious Beecher’s cheese (regular Flagship and Smoked Flagship) I decided to grab my tortellini (cucina fresca Four Cheese Tortellini) there as well. So if you really wanted to, I guess you could call this Pike Place Mac & Cheese.
I based this recipe on my favorite macaroni & cheese recipe, Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese. It seemed appropriate seeing as how I was using Beecher’s cheeses for this recipe. First thing, gather your ingredients. This recipe is a pretty simple one and allows the subtle flavors to shine through.
Start by cooking your pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Since I used a fresh tortellini, it was done in four minutes. Drain, then set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, shred your cheeses. If you don’t have Flagship in your store, you can either order it online direct from Beecher’s or substitute a nice sharp Cheddar and another smoked cheese. If you can, take the time to order the Smoked Flagship & Flagship from Beecher’s – the flavor is just outstanding.
In the same pot in which you cooked the tortellini, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted and just turning toasty, add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, for about two minutes. Add the milk, and continue whisking often until the sauce begins to thicken, about ten minutes.
Once the sauce is thickened, add the chipotle powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt and seasoned pepper. Whisk to combine, then add both cheeses. Remove the pot from heat and stir everything together until the cheeses are melted. Add the tortellini back to the saucy pot, and give everything a good stir.
Done! Now pop that amazing tortellini mac & cheese into a bowl, garnish if you feel like it, and enjoy! Simple, right?
How was it? Luscious. Subtly smoky. Everything I’d hoped it would be. Four elbows up, and I’ll be adding it to my regular mac & cheese repertoire. Delicious, and perfect for your Autumn table.
Here is my recipe, loosely based on Beecher’s famous mac & cheese recipe.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups fat-free milk
- 8 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheese, grated
- 8 ounces Beecher's Smoked Flagship cheese, grated
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
- 10 ounces fresh tortellini
- parsley for garnish, if desired
- In a large pot, cook tortellini per package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In the same large pot, melt butter. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, for two minutes. Add milk and continue whisking often until sauce begins to thicken (about ten minutes).
- Add chipotle powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt and seasoned pepper. Whisk to combine, then add both cheeses. Remove pot from heat and stir until cheeses are melted.
- Add tortellini back to the pot and stir to combine.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
Try it, you’ll like it!
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