One of the most popular posts in my recipe blog is the baked macaroni. With its rich and creamy cheese topping, it’s a real crowd pleaser. But cooking baked macaroni is a rather involved process — something that my daughters will ask me to do but not do themselves as the procedure involves using a lot of bowls and pans, and no one wants to wash a sink full of dirty utensils. So, they developed their own technique for replicating the creamy cheese topping that I use for my baked mac. They have different styles; this is basically Alex’s invention. She has regaled her visiting friends with this technique and it’s such a hit.
For this post, I made some modifications. Some work is required but all you need is a microwaveable bowl and a fork. That’s not a lot to wash.
First, you need the cheese mixture. You’ll have to figure out the proportions because the amounts will vary depending on the kind of cheese you use. Start with cream cheese. Beat it in a bowl until it’s a smooth paste. Next, add grated cheese. Cheddar is good but mozzarella, American cheese, Swiss cheese and gouda are great too. You can even use more than one kind. Add a couple of tablespoonfuls of milk — just enough to make everything easy to stir. Stir until the mixture has a uniform texture. It will be lumpy.
Heat the cheese mixture in the microwave on HIGH for about a minute or just long enough to melt the grated cheese. Stir. The mixture should be thick but still pourable. Season with salt and pepper.
Put your cooked pasta dish in bowls and pour the cheese mixture on top.
Use a kitchen torch to scorch the cheese topping to give it that grilled look and mouth feel. The topping will acquire the texture of something that had been baked BUT the dish, as a whole, won’t have that baked texture which is only possible when everything is heated together in the oven. If the pasta dish is great anyway, that’s quite okay. It’s really the topping that will give it that polished look and indulgent richness.