Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Cheese Crisps

Photo: Quentin Bacon

Paprika adds smoky flavor to this super-creamy dish that includes Fontina, cheddar and mascarpone. Cheese crisps replace the usual bread crumbs on top.

Yield: 4
Total:
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Recipe Time

Total: 45 Minutes


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely shredded
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) imported Fontina, coarsely shredded
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • Salt
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni

Preparation

  1. Sprinkle half of the cheddar onto an extra-large nonstick skillet in four 4-inch mounds. Cook over moderate heat until the cheese is lacy and golden, about 4 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, carefully flip each crisp and cook until golden, about 1 minute longer. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate and break into large pieces.
  2. In a very large saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and paprika and cook over moderate heat until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining cheddar and the Fontina and cook over low heat until melted. Off the heat, stir in the mascarpone and season with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and add to the cheese sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until hot and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Spoon the mac and cheese into bowls, top with the cheese crisps and serve.
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