Thanksgiving used to be one large meal eaten at my grandma’s house in southern California with my family. This year, I’m having multiple Thanksgiving meals on the opposite coast, one pot-luck style dinner at the home of 4 guy friends plus their 30 closest friends, the other at my used-to-be coworker’s uncles house in Maryland. I’m very thankful to be included in each of these festive gatherings, but it’s funny how times have changed!
The best part of this change is that I am now responsible for making some of the food for these smorgasbord meals. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the traditional Thanksgiving food staples. They’re not bad – and oh, will I eat them – but they aren’t exceptionally exciting to me. How many casseroles can one meal sustain? So, when asked to make a little something for the pot-luck-Thanksgiving-keg-party last night, I tried a more original recipe. *Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats.
Roasted Garlic Mac & Cheese
1 head garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
16 oz. dry pasta
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
10 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. crumbled garlic and herb boursin cheese, divided
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Snipped chives, for garnish (optional)
To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Remove most of the outer paper skins from the head of garlic, leaving it intact. Slice off the top portion of the head so that all of the cloves are exposed at the top, but the head is still intact. Rub with a bit of olive oil. Place the head of garlic on a piece of foil and loosely fold the foil up around the head of garlic to create a foil packet. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the cloves are easily squeezed from the skins (be sure to let cool before handling!) Squeeze all of the garlic out of the skins and smash with a fork to make a paste.
Increase the oven temperature to 400˚ F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until about 2 minutes shy of al dente according to the package directions. Drain in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and the roasted garlic paste and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce comes to a low boil and thickens noticeably. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar and about 3 ounces of the boursin. Whisk until the cheese is completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and add parsley, toss to coat well. Transfer to a lightly greased 2 quart baking dish and top with the remaining boursin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling. Let cool at least 5-10 minutes before serving.