Did you know that our third president, Thomas Jefferson, was a pasta-aficionado? At Jefferson’s request in 1789, his secretary, William Short, secured a ”mould for making macaroni” in Naples, and shipped it off to Jefferson. Although by “macaroni” Jefferson meant pasta, he did use the machine, and wrote about what makes for the best pasta, which he believed was to be found in Italy. Among his papers, he even wrote out how to make macaroni using: 6 eggs, “2 wine glasses of milk,” 2 pounds of flour, and salt. Although it isn’t entirely clear if Jefferson used cheese in his version, here are up 10 tasty macaroni and cheese recipes in honor of the Virginian.
1. Macaroni and cheese prepared in a crock pot may not save time or hassle, but it has at least one huge advantage, it will free up oven space. Serve this variety from Cooks.com when you need to bake another dish, or if you don’t feel like heating up the house with your oven.
2. If you thought pimento cheese was only served at Augusta National during the Masters Tournament, you haven’t spent enough time in the South. It is a spread for crackers, an ingredient in sandwiches, a component of omelets, and can be used in just about any dish calling for cheese. If you aren’t already a lover of the Southern staple, Ezra Pound Cake’s Pimento Mac and Cheese might convert you.
3. Bobby Deen cooked up the perfect solution for macaroni and cheese portion control problems, Crispy Mac and Cheese Cups. His recipe for the Food Network calls for baking the cheesy goodness into ramekins, dishing up portion-controlled servings. He also added a butternut squash puree, an easy way to sneak extra vegetables into your diet. You will need twelve 6-ounce ramekins to bake the macaroni and cheese.
4. Macaroni and cheese isn’t reserved for Italian influences, Saveur’s Greek Macaroni and Cheese was inspired by one of New York City chef Michael Psilakis’ creations, and brings a Greek twist to a traditional comfort food dish.
5. Healthier recipes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this Skillet Mac and Cheese was given a makeover by Ellie Krieger for the Cooking Channel in order to bring down the calorie and fat content. With a few ingredient swaps, the calorie count went down from 540 to 360 per serving; it reduced the saturated fat by 12 grams to 8 grams and contains 40 milligrams of cholesterol compared to 195.
6. Not only does a smoked gouda introduce a flavor profile missing in your average cheddar cheese recipe, but the smokin’ factor gets a second boost from chopped smoked ham in Southern Living’s recipe for Smokin’ Macaroni and Cheese. One reviewer substituted the cornflakes for panko, a step you can take as well if you prefer to keep cereal reserved for the breakfast table.
7. Whether you have a hankering for crab, shrimp, or lobster, Emeril’s version of Seafood Mac and Cheese will have you incorporating your favorite seafood into a comforting macaroni and cheese dish. Unlike a recipe that only calls for lobster, you can potentially save money using a mixture of shrimp and lobster, or crabmeat and lobster.
8. Gnocchi is a classic Italian pasta dish, commonly made with potatoes and flour, although other versions swap the potatoes for cheese. Either way, these pillowy bites of pasta pair well with a varieties of cheeses or sauces, and they make a great base in Tasty Kitchen’s baked mac’n’cheese.
9. Taking the Bobby Deen portion-control idea even further are these Mac and Cheese Bites from Annie’s Eats, which are baked in muffin tins. Additionally, they are a fantastic option for serving mac and cheese at a party where there is no formal “sit down” meal, because as a bite-sized treat they are portable, and less messy than traditional macaroni and cheese.
10. Goat cheese and chicken take the ultimate kid comfort food and elevate it to a more “adult” version. Chef Michael Symon has been creating Mac and Cheese With Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Rosemary for years at his restaurant, Lola, and now that he has shared the recipe with The Chew, even non Ohioans can enjoy his version at home.