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.
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- 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
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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