Saltgrass Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
As a full-time RVer, I understand the challenges and joys of cooking in an RV kitchen. I also know that everyone loves a good mac and cheese! That’s why I was excited to share this delicious Saltgrass Macaroni and Cheese recipe. It’s easy and doesn’t require any special equipment, making it perfect for cooking in an RV. And the results are amazing!
My inspiration for creating this recipe was a meal that my husband and I had at Saltgrass Steak House many years ago. The steak was just okay, but that Mac N Cheese…OMG! It was the star of the show!
I love dining out and getting inspired to recreate dishes that I enjoy in my own kitchen. And although I am not labeling this a “Saltgrass Steakhouse copycat recipe” I think I nailed the flavors and texture of this baked macaroni dish.
Everyone knows that Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, but this recipe has a secret ingredient that takes it to a whole new level – Boursin Cheese
What is Boursin Cheese you ask?
Boursin is a soft, creamy cheese with a slightly crumbly texture. It is made from a combination of Gournay (a type of French cheese that is similar to cream cheese) and fresh herbs. It is available in a variety of flavors, including garlic and fine herbs, shallot and chive, and basil and chive. It is typically served as a spread or dip, but it can also be used in cooking. It’s easy to find at almost any grocery store.
Did I mention the topping?
I use Panko breadcrumbs mixed with butter, bacon, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. It gives this dish a delightfully crunchy topping that pairs well with the creamy macaroni.
The result is a creamy, dreamy mac and cheese that is fancy enough for company or holiday gatherings, but simple enough to make any night of the week. Top it with some roasted chicken and serve with a green vegetable and you’ve got yourself a full meal that I promise the entire family will love!
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Let’s gather up the ingredients:
- Pasta– Elbow macaroni or your favorite shape
- Bacon– Sliced into strips
- All-purpose flour
- Heavy Cream
- Knorr Chicken Bullion
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese– Avoid using pre-shredded cheese. It is coated in a caking agent that doesn’t allow it to melt as smoothly as freshly shredded cheese does.
- Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese– This is the secret ingredient!
- Dijon Mustard
- Fresh garlic
- Panko bread crumbs– If you use plain breadcrumbs, you won’t get the same texture.
- Parmesan cheese– You could also use Romano
- Black pepper– or if you prefer you could substitute white pepper
- Fresh parsley
- Smoked Paprika– optional, but it adds a smokey element that compliments the bacon
Now Let’s Get Cooking
Preheat oven to 350° F and bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Butter a 13×9 inch baking dish. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, add the bacon and cook on medium heat until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pot leaving the bacon fat behind. Set aside for later.
Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter along with the minced garlic to the remaining bacon grease. Cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add in the flour and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and water until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce just starts to thicken. You will know it’s done when you start to see little bubbles around the edge of the pot and it coats the back of your spoon.
Turn off the heat. Add the Boursin and cheddar cheeses, mustard, and half of the bacon. Stir until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add the drained pasta to the cheesy sauce. Once combined, pour into the prepared baking dish.
Mince the remaining bacon finely and combine it with the panko, parmesan cheese, parsley, and 2 Tbs melted butter. Layer it evenly on top of the pasta.
Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Yields 4 servings as a main course or 8 servings as a side.
How to serve
This recipe makes the perfect side dish to serve next to your favorite protein, or it can also be served as a main course along with a simple side salad, a glass of wine, and a chunk of crusty bread!
When it comes to macaroni and cheese, the best cheese choices depend on your preferred flavor profile and desired texture. Here are some popular options:
- Cheddar: Cheddar is a classic choice for mac and cheese, offering a sharp, tangy flavor and a smooth, melty texture. It pairs well with other mild cheeses to create a balanced and flavorful dish.
- Gruyère: Gruyère is a Swiss cheese known for its nutty, earthy flavor and creamy texture. It adds a rich and complex dimension to mac and cheese, often used in combination with cheddar for a well-rounded flavor profile.
- Parmesan: Parmesan is a hard, Italian cheese with a salty, umami flavor. It is typically grated and used as a topping for mac and cheese, adding a sharp bite and a cheesy punch.
- Fontina: Fontina is an Italian cheese with a mild, buttery flavor and a soft, melty texture. It pairs well with sharper cheeses like cheddar or Gruyère, adding a creamy richness to the dish.
- Monterey Jack: Monterey Jack is a mild, American cheese with a smooth, melty texture. It is a versatile cheese that works well in mac and cheese, offering a neutral flavor that complements other cheeses without overpowering the dish.
- Gouda: Gouda is a Dutch cheese with a wide range of flavors, from mild and creamy to sharp and aged. It adds a unique depth of flavor to mac and cheese, with nutty, caramel-like notes that complement other cheeses.
- Brie: Brie is a soft, French cheese with a creamy texture and a rich, buttery flavor. It can be used in mac and cheese for a decadent and indulgent experience, adding a hint of sweetness and a luxurious mouthfeel.
Typically this dish is made with elbow pasta, but feel free to mix it up. The best pasta shapes for mac and cheese are those that have small nooks and crannies to hold onto the cheese sauce. This ensures that every bite is packed with flavor and gooeyness. Here are some of the most popular pasta shapes for mac and cheese:
- Cavatappi: Cavatappi pasta is a corkscrew-shaped pasta that is also perfect for mac and cheese. Its spiral shape catches a lot of cheese sauce, and its hollow center helps to evenly distribute the flavor.
- Shells: Their cup-like shape allows them to hold a lot of cheese sauce, and their ridges add a bit of texture to the dish.
- Rotini: Rotini is a twisted pasta. It is a good choice for mac and cheese because it has a lot of nooks and crannies to hold onto the cheese sauce.
- Farfalle: Farfalle, also known as bow-tie pasta, is a fun and festive shape that is perfect for mac and cheese. Its small size and delicate shape make it easy to eat, and its bow-tie shape adds a touch of whimsy to the dish.
No matter which pasta shape you choose, make sure to cook it according to the package directions until it is just shy of al dente. This will ensure that the pasta is still tender but not mushy, and it will be able to hold up to the rich cheese sauce.
Here are some additional tips for choosing the best pasta shape for mac and cheese:
- Consider the texture: If you like your mac and cheese to be smooth and creamy, choose a pasta shape with a smooth surface like elbow macaroni or shells. If you like your mac and cheese to have a bit of texture, choose a pasta shape with ridges or spirals like cavatappi or rotini.
- Consider the occasion: If you are making mac and cheese for a special occasion, you can choose a fun and festive pasta shape like farfalle or bow ties. If you are making mac and cheese for a weeknight meal, you can choose a more traditional pasta shape like elbow macaroni or shells.
Ultimately, the best pasta shape for mac and cheese is the one that you and your family enjoy the most. So experiment with different shapes and sizes until you find your perfect match.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to reheat Mac & Cheese?
The best way to reheat mac and cheese depends on the desired outcome and the equipment available. Here are three methods for reheating mac and cheese effectively:
- Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe dish and add a splash of milk or cream to prevent dryness. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to trap moisture and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. For a crispier topping, remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking.
- Stovetop method: In a saucepan over low heat, add the mac and cheese and a splash of milk or cream. Stir gently until the mac and cheese is heated through and the cheese is melted and smooth. Avoid overcooking to prevent dryness or clumping.
- Microwave method: Place the mac and cheese in a microwave-safe dish and add a splash of milk or cream. Cover the dish with microwave-safe plastic wrap or a lid, leaving a small vent to allow steam to escape. Microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. Stir halfway through to ensure even heating.
Regardless of the method chosen, it’s important to reheat the mac and cheese slowly and gently to prevent drying out or overcooking the cheese. Adding a splash of milk or cream will help maintain the creamy texture. Stir the mac and cheese frequently to ensure even heating and prevent clumping. Once heated through, serve immediately and enjoy!
Is Boursin Cheese gluten free?
Yes, Boursin cheese is naturally gluten-free. The ingredients in Boursin cheese are all gluten-free, and the cheese is not processed in any way that would introduce gluten. In fact, Boursin cheese is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). This means that the cheese has been tested and found to be gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million (ppm), which is the FDA’s standard for gluten-free food.
How to make leftover mac and cheese creamy
Reheating leftover mac and cheese can sometimes result in a dry and less creamy texture. To restore its creamy goodness, here are some tips:
- Add a splash of whole milk or cream: Start by adding a small amount of milk or cream to the mac and cheese. The amount you need will depend on how dry the mac and cheese is. Start with 1 tablespoon of milk or cream per cup of mac and cheese, and add more as needed until the desired consistency is reached.
- Heat it gently: Instead of blasting the mac and cheese in the microwave or on the stovetop, reheat it slowly over low heat. This will prevent the cheese from overcooking and becoming rubbery, and it will also help the milk or cream incorporate evenly.
- Use a double boiler: If you have a double boiler, this is the best way to reheat mac and cheese. It will provide gentle and even heat, preventing the cheese from scorching or separating.
- Stir frequently: As the mac and cheese is reheating, stir it frequently to ensure that the cheese melts evenly and the milk or cream is distributed throughout. This will help prevent clumps from forming and ensure a smooth and creamy texture.
- Add a touch of seasoning: If the mac and cheese tastes a bit bland after reheating, you can add a pinch of salt, pepper, or even a dash of paprika to enhance the flavor.
How to store leftover macaroni
- Cool promptly: Allow the mac and cheese to cool completely to room temperature before storing. This will prevent the growth of bacteria and preserve the texture of the dish.
- Choose an airtight container: Transfer the cooled mac and cheese to an airtight container. This will prevent moisture loss and keep the dish fresh. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are ideal options.
- Refrigerate promptly: Place the airtight container of mac and cheese in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Refrigerate at a consistent temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below.
- Consume within 3-4 days: Leftover mac and cheese is best consumed within 3-4 days for optimal flavor and texture. However, it can be stored for up to 7 days if properly refrigerated.
This creamy, cheesy comfort food classic is sure to become a favorite in your household. It’s perfect for campground potlucks or holiday gatherings. Your friends and family will be asking you to make it anytime you get together.
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Saltgrass Macaroni and Cheese
- 8 Slices Bacon Cut into fairly thick pieces
- 8 Ounces Pasta
- 4 Tbs Butter divided
- 2 Tbs Flour
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 1/2 tsp Chicken Bullion mixed into 1c. of water
- 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar
- 1 5.2 oz pkg Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 lrg Garlic clove minced finely
- 1/2 Cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 Cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbs Fresh minced parsley
- Preheat oven to 350° F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Butter a 13×9 inch baking dish. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, add the bacon and cook on medium heat until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pot leaving the bacon fat behind. Set aside for later. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat.
- Add 2 Tbs of the butter along with the minced garlic to the remaining bacon grease. Cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add in the flour and and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and water/chicken broth until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce just starts to thicken. You will know its done when you start to see little bubbles around the edge of the pot and it coats the back of a spoon.
- Turn off the heat. Add the Boursin and cheddar cheese, mustard, and half of the bacon. Stir until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir to coat all of the noodles in the cheese sauce. Once combined, pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Mince the remaining bacon finely and combine it with the panko, parmesan cheese, parsley, and 2 Tbs melted butter. Layer it evenly on top of the pasta.
- Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Yields 4 servings as a main course or 8 servings as a side.
This post was all about how to make the ultimate macaroni and cheese recipe that will make you look like a rock star at your next potluck or family gathering.
Looking for more comfort food dishes? Check out my Tomato Basil Soup recipe.