Don't you love it when you see something on sale that you also have coupon for. It's a double win. I had this experience at Whole Foods last week. I found these new cheese blends from Roth Cheese. They are one of the best cheese makers out of Wisconsin. They are known for their alpine style cheese, Grand Cru. It originally had "gruyere" in it's name but that was dropped. The cheese is not made in the Gruyere region of Switzerland and they wanted to respect Swiss AOC rules, which are meant to control the designation of origins of a product. This is concept is used a lot in European countries. There are similar things in the U.S. Sweet onions not grown in the Vidalia region of Georgia cannot be called Vidalia onions.
What is in the Ulimate Mac & Cheese Blend?
This blend is made up of three different types of cheese - Grand Cru, Havarti, and Sharp Cheddar. Sharp cheddar is what I typically use in mac & cheese. The sharp cheddar brings the tang. The Havarti is more mild, but is creamy and buttery. The Grand Cru is a rich cheese.
I normally don't buy already shredded cheese blends, but in this case with the sale and coupon it was worth it. Buying all three cheeses separately would be costly.
Did this mix make the Ulimate Mac & Cheese. I would say so. I have mixed sharp cheddar with gouda before with great results, but this was even better than that. These 3 cheeses worked really well together, each providing something different to the dish. It was cheesy, nutty, rich, creamy, and buttery. In other words, it had it all! Also I found that leftovers with this combo were better than leftovers are normally. When I do just straight up cheddar, the cheese on the leftovers can be clumpy, but we felt when we re-heated this mac & cheese it was smoother. I think it definitely had something to do with the cheeses that we used.
To learn more about the Ultimate cheese blends from Roth cheese, check out their website. The two other blends they have are Ultimate Flatbread (Grand Cru® Alpine-style, Mild Provolone & Fontiago®) and Ultimate Firehouse Grand Cru® Alpine-style, 3 Chile Pepper Gouda & Smoked Fontina.
Below you will find my recipe for making mac & cheese in cast iron using this cheese blend. I like the cast iron because it gets the pasta that is touching the bottom and the edges nice and brown, way better than glass pan ever could.
- 8 ounces pasta Penne, Elbow, Cavatappi
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 6 oz Roth Ultimate Mac & Cheese blend
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For preparing the pasta
- Bring about a gallon of water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water so it tastes like sea water.
- Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
For making the sauce
- Melt the butter in pot over medium heat. Cook the butter until it takes on some brown color, but not black.
- Stir in the flour and dry mustard. Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly.
- Then add the milk.
- Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly. Slowly add the cheese, stirring until it completely melts.
- Mix the cheese and the pasta together.
Cooking in the cast iron
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Choose a cast iron skillet. Just before cooking, spray the cast iron with cooking oil, or put a few drops of oil in the center and rub in it with a paper towel. This should help prevent sticking.
- Add the mac & cheese to the skillet. Smooth it out with a spatula so it is in an even layer.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cheese has browned.
- Remove carefully from the oven and serve.