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It's no wonder the holidays and macaroni and cheese go together so well: They're both warm, comforting and filled with more than their share of cheesy moments.
With Thanksgiving but a week away, we've enlisted cheese expert Laura Werlin to show you the whey to macaroni mastery.
Laura Werlin is the James Beard award-winning cookbook author of The All American Cheese and Wine Book. Her sixth book, Mac & Cheese, Please!, will be released December 4. You can find her on Twitter as @cheezelady if that tells you anything about her fervor for fromage.
Five Tips to a (Mac &) Cheesy Thanksgiving: Laura Werlin
1. Return of the Mac
I personally like the sweetness that onions add but, if you prefer, you can simply leave them out of this classic recipe. The dish will likely make it into your regular repertoire either way! Once you have a classic recipe, the possibilities are endless for what you can add in - bacon or arugula anyone?
Classic Mac & Cheese
2. I'm melting!
For some of the best melting cheeses, head for the hills - preferably the Swiss Alps! It's there where you'll find the unparalleled Gruyère (one of the best-tasting melting cheeses in the world), Emmentaler (the original "Swiss" cheese) and Appenzeller, among others. Hop over those hills into France's Jura region and grab some Comté for an equally memorable melting cheese experience.
And from the rolling hills of Wisconsin, Pleasant Ridge Reserve and just about any Wisconsin cheddar will make any mac & cheese sing, as will the cheeses from the farms and forests in Vermont all the way to the seaside farms in California, Oregon and Washington. So, now that you know the fundamentals, it’s time to put them into practice.
3. Thanksgiving mac attack
Butternut Squash, Gruyère and Brown Butter Mac & Cheese
4. Light(er) mac & cheese
First off, you can use reduced fat or low-fat cheeses. If you’re using such a cheese, it’s important to cook the mixture slowly since low-fat and reduced fat cheeses (like a skim milk cheese) clump up more easily. You may need to add a few extra teaspoons of flour if your cheese starts to clump.
Second, you can swap regular pasta for whole grain pasta to add some fiber. And third, try adding in some color! Throw in a bunch of arugula, herbed zucchini or tomatoes roasted with garlic to get some more antioxidants.
5. How to nurse a tryptophan hangover
Breakfast Mac 'n' Cheese
Agree with our cheese guru's tips, or do you have another suggestion? Share in the comments below.
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