Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Set aside.
Preheat broiler to high.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring frequently (do not brown). Stir in 1 cup stock; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Combine remaining 1 1/4 cups stock, milk, and flour; stir with a whisk until flour dissolves. Add milk mixture to garlic mixture, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove milk mixture from heat; add cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta to milk mixture, tossing to coat. Let stand 5 minutes. Pour pasta mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheddar evenly over pasta mixture. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Let stand 5 minutes.
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I can't understand how this recipe rates a 3.9 out of 5??? I give it less than 1 star. I followed the recipe exactly as written and boy is it a poor tasting excuse for mac & cheese. If I was forced to make this recipe again, I'd add Gruyere and sharp cheddar to the main cheese sauce and leave out the cream cheese, saute onion with the garlic and use more milk than stock. Also add a pinch of Coleman's mustard. It's shocking this recipe made it on the front page of the special edition Cooking Light magazine. What????
I should really learn that ANY "light" mac & cheese recipe from C.L. is going to be bland. I wasn't disappointed when I tried this and it lacked any flavor. I added garlic powder (on top of the fresh garlic in the dish), onion powder, ground red pepper, smoked paprika, salt & pepper and some additional cheddar cheese to the base (as well as on top) to get some flavor in this one. After those seasoning additions, I really thought this was a good mac & cheese recipe. As another reviewer pointed out, it was really creamy and not dry after the cook time; fit nicely in an 8 x 8 square casserole dish. Definitely, with the modifications, it's worth making if your family really enjoys mac & cheese and you want a "traditional" taste. Enjoy!
I was concerned about this being runny as I made it, but once I added the cream cheese, it was perfect. Also, because it did have some extra sauce, I baked it for about 30 min with the cheddar on top. I loved it and my very picky son loved it too, :-)
Best Mac and Cheese I've ever made... and the roasted broccoli & red pepper side recommended in the September 2013 issue completed the dish! :-)
P.S. Mine was not runny at all... and I followed the recipe exactly!
We all agree that this is the best mac & cheese!! Liked having a little bit thinner sauce - reheats nicely (is not too dry like most mac & cheese). You do need to let it sit when the recipe states - I found that 10 mins each time is better than the 5 stated. Also first made this with sharp cheddar cheese and found it a little bland - using the EXTRA sharp cheese made all the difference. Love the garlic in the recipe as well. Did add about 2/3 of the cheddar cheese into the sauce with the cream cheese, and used the remaining to broil on top. Finally found a mac and cheese recipe my WHOLE family loves!! Thanks CL!!
This is a pretty good version. I was impressed that everyone in my family (husband, teen,preschooler) enjoyed this Mac and cheese. It was very tasty. The only thing I would be aware of is this is a runny recipe so don't expect baked Mac and cheese. Still very good and I would make it again.
I made this Mac&Cheese Labor Day weekend and I must say it was delicious, I did how ever add 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper I like to have a little kick to my food, but this recipe was so easy, I will probably make it again and the left overs will be great to take to work for lunch!
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