This viral dish lives up to the hype.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a potluck, holiday dinner, or plain old Wednesday night, there’s nothing better than homemade macaroni and cheese. But, just like how people debate which boxed macaroni and cheese is the best (my vote is for Annie’s white Cheddar shells), everyone has an opinion on how to make homemade macaroni and cheese, too. Do you add breadcrumbs? What cheese do you use? Which pasta shape is the best?
Recently, however, millions of people have agreed that this viral macaroni and cheese is the best way to make it from now on.
In November, TikTok user Tini posted a video demonstrating how she makes mac and cheese for the holiday season. The recipe has an incredible two-and-a-half pounds of cheese—all grated by hand—plus a creamy roux made from evaporated milk and heavy cream. And, unlike most mac and cheese recipes, Tini’s doesn’t use elbow macaroni—but cavatappi instead.
“I use corkscrews because all that cream gets all up in there, so you bite into the cream and cheeseiness,” she said. “It’s better than elbow pasta.”
Since the video went live, it has brought in a whopping 69 million views on the platform and the recipe has been recreated hundreds of times.
In fact, the recipe became so popular right before Thanksgiving that even Tini herself said she had trouble finding the ingredients to make her own mac and cheese.
I, unfortunately, didn’t see this recipe until after Thanksgiving, but it worked out because when I wanted to try it, the stores were restocked with all the ingredients.
How to Make Tini's Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound cavatappi, cooked
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
16 ounces Colby Jack cheese, grated
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Cook cavatappi according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Combine all three shredded cheeses in a bowl and divide half into another bowl. Set aside.
Combine garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Divide in half and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add half the seasoning mixture and flour. Stir until the mixture becomes paste-like, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add evaporated milk and whisk until thick. Add heavy cream and the rest of the seasonings and mix until combined. Whisk in Dijon mustard until thick. Slowly add in half the cheese, allowing it to melt before adding more.
Stir in macaroni until coated with cheese sauce.
Add a layer of macaroni and then a layer of shredded cheese to the prepared baking dish. Repeat layers.
Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Finish by broiling until top is golden brown, about 2 minutes.
I Tried Tini's Mac and Cheese
The main thing that surprised me about Tini’s mac and cheese is just how easy it is to make. Even though you have to grate your cheese by hand—well, you don’t have to, but freshly grated cheese is better and gives you more—it’s not a lot of steps.
Once the cheese is grated and the roux is ready, you’re basically done.
Speaking of the roux—I could have just eaten the mac and cheese directly out of the pot without even baking it. It looks so creamy and cheesy, but baking the dish does add an extra flavor boost thanks to the crust on top.
I’ve never had mac and cheese made with cavatappi noodles before, but I promise, I’m never going back. The one extra corkscrew compared to elbow macaroni really does allow the cheese and cream to latch on.
Tini was really on to something with this recipe and all I have left to say is you need to try it to see for yourself. You will not regret it.
Read the original article on All Recipes.