As National Pasta Month comes to a close and the cold weather creeps in, we’re bundling up and digging into some classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese. However, Mac ‘n’ Cheese doesn’t have to be boring! With some simple additions and tweaks, you can take your restaurant’s cheesy classic to the next level. Here are ten ways to make Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a twist.
- Lobster Mac with Cheddar & Gruyère: Ziti pasta is a great base for light sauces and baked casserole dishes. Add an indulgent cheese, like Aged French Gruyère, which has both creamy and nutty flavors, and lobster to create a dish even a Maine native would praise.
- Grilled Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pulled Pork: Too much leftover Mac on your hands? Throw some pork and BBQ sauce into a slow-cooker before you leave for the night and in the morning, you’ve got the main ingredients to grill up some tasty sandwiches
- Baked Pumpkin Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Use any leftover pumpkin puree you may have on hand from autumn squash soups or baked goods to create a special seasonal entrée that will please pumpkin-lovers and entice diners to try a new flavor. Rigatoni is the perfect shape pasta to capture this thick sauce with its deep ridges.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Macaroni and Cheese Cups: Create a new small plate hit by baking your Mac ‘n’ Cheese in muffin tins lined with prosciutto. The classic macaroni elbows’ twisted shape is great for holding dairy-based sauces and bakes well to build this savory Mac ‘n’ Cheese cup.
- Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese: Spice up the staple dish with some Tex-Mex flavors like pickled jalapeños or green chiles and chorizo. You can even experiment with crumbling some corn tortilla chips over the top for an added crunch. Both the ridges and generous cup of pasta shells capture the flavor of the meat sauce added to this dish beautifully.
- Penne with Tomato, Cream & Five Cheeses: Try an Italian take on Mac ‘n’ Cheese by using tomato and a creamy five-cheese sauce. Use penne pasta, one of the most famous Italian pasta shapes, to fully capture the nation’s flavor. The shape also retains tomato and dairy sauces well.
- Mushroom and Truffle Sea Salt White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese: Try something different with the rich, decadent flavors of mushroom and truffle blended with bold flavor of white cheddar and sea salt. Use the twists of rotini pasta to hold as much creamy sauce as possible.
- Bacon Fried Mac Balls: Mix in some bacon crumbles to classic macaroni noodles and cheddar, spoon it into balls and coat it in breadcrumbs before frying to create an excellent appetizer. Pro-tip: reduce the amount of liquid you normally use in making macaroni and cheese by ¼ to ⅓ , the slightly drier consistency makes frying the Mac Balls easier.
- Better-for-you Macaroni: Keep in mind that not everyone can enjoy classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Appeal to gluten-restricted and health-conscious diners alike with gluten-free elbow pasta mixed with goat cheese, cheddar and kale.
- Popper Macaroni and Cheese: Keep things spicy with Marzetti’s own jalapeño Mac ‘n’ Cheese, made with classic elbows. Remember the Marzetti Extra Heavy Mayonnaise to keep things creamy and not too spicy.
Remember, Marzetti’s precooked frozen pastas go a long way when creating new twists on Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Use National Pasta Month as an excuse to try out these simple additions and see what sticks. Still trying to perfect a classic dish? Here are some great tips to make the creamiest baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese of all time.