No-Boil Overnight Mac & Cheese is an easy, hands-off recipe that delivers big on that hot and cheesy … [+] homemade taste.
I am a big Ina Garten fan. Her food is simple to prepare and delicious. I love her approach to entertaining and how she incorporates international flair into her cozy comfort food.
When I got her new cookbook, “Go-to Dinners,” I browsed through it and the “Overnight Mac & Cheese” caught my eye. Without reading the recipe, I envisioned a mac & cheese like an egg strata where you soak the raw pasta overnight and bake it the next day.
Ina’s recipe is a little different than what I thought it was going to be, and calls for par-boiling the pasta. I don’t know why, but I find par-boiling pasta for baked casseroles like lasagna and mac & cheese to be something that I don’t want to do. I’ve made a no-boil spinach lasagna for as long as I can remember, and Ina’s recipe inspired me to do the same for mac & cheese.
I used my “no-boil” baking technique—covering the casserole with heavy-duty foil to keep the steam in and cook the pasta—with the ingredients and proportions in Ina’s recipe. I mixed pasta, heavy cream, grated cheese and seasonings together and let it sit overnight.
The next day, I baked it at 400°F as her recipe instructs, and it was good. The only problem was that the fat separated out when it was baked at that temperature, and the top of the dish had pools of oil on it. This won’t bother some people and the breadcrumbs soaked it up, but I wondered if the recipe would work with milk instead of cream.
I tried it with both 2% and whole milk. The 2% version was a little too light for me, but if you don’t like the richness of whole milk, you should try it with 2%.
After experimenting with different combinations of milk and cheese, I settled on a recipe made with shell pasta, whole milk, sharp cheddar and a cheesy top instead of breadcrumbs. If you want to make it a little richer, you can…