I Tried The Pasta Queen’s “Minty Mistress Mac and Cheese” Recipe and Now It’s One of My Favorites
We all have our favorite foods that we never grow tired of, and one of my mine is mac and cheese. For as long as I can remember, mac and cheese has had my whole heart; I’ve always enjoyed trying different renditions of it. So naturally, when I heard Nadia Caterina Munno aka “The Pasta Queen” refer to her Minty Mistress Mac & Cheese as “mac and cheese on steroids,” I was all in. I knew I had to try it.
How to Make Minty Mistress Mac and Cheese
This is a four-cheese mac and cheese, and the ingredients are quite simple with an overall cook time of about 20 minutes. You will need Parmesan, Provolone, Fontina, and Gruyére cheeses — as well as butter and your choice of pasta (I opted for penne). The sauce takes about 15 minutes to make, so you’ll want to start boiling your water for your pasta before beginning with the sauce.
Next, dice your cheese assortments to be all about the same size. Add butter and Provolone to your preheated pan first, mixing gently over a low flame. Once the Provolone starts to melt, add in the Fontina and Gruyére, let it melt, and continue to mix gently. At this point, your water should be boiling, so add some salt and pour in your pasta.
When your cheeses have gotten to a nice melted state, you will want to add milk or heavy cream. It is important to note that the cream should be at room temperature so as not to cause too much of a difference in temperature. Keep mixing and you will see that your sauce is becoming creamy and smooth. You can add a bit of nutmeg here if you want a nice twist to the recipe.
After about 15 minutes, your sauce should be creamy and smooth with a nice consistency. This is where you will be flexing your culinary skills because you don’t want it to be too watery or too thick. Once you’re satisfied with the consistency, go ahead and add the cooked pasta, Parmesan, black pepper, and some pasta water, then mix it all together. Lastly, mix in some chopped mint — our star ingredient — and voilà! Serve right away for ultimate taste satisfaction.
My Honest Opinion
All hail The Pasta Queen! Between telling me I was gorgeous, encouraging me to experiment with my palate, and promising that I would be making spectacular food for my peers, Nadia’s video breaks this recipe down step by step and makes it easy for anyone to try.
The mint is fun and different and, to my surprise, complements the mac and cheese very well. Nadia offers exceptional advice throughout her tutorial that really helped me along the way and truly makes the entire process take only 20 minutes from start to finish. Her choice in cheese for this recipe opened my mind to other possibilities that I am excited to explore. Admittedly, the sauce can be the most challenging part of this recipe, so I would suggest experimenting with cheeses that melt well and remember to keep it on a very low flame. Make no mistake: This recipe is not your average boxed Velveeta concoction. If you are ready to take your game to another level, then give this a shot!
4 Tips for Making Minty Mistress Mac and Cheese
- No need to add salt to the sauce. The cheeses are already very salty, so you will want to be careful not to over-salt this recipe. Do not add salt to the sauce — wait until the end and season to your taste.
- Use a cheese grater. While chopping the cheese into small cubes with a knife will work, if you want to assist in the melting process, a cheese grater would be an easier alternative.
- Save some pasta water. After mixing the pasta in with the cheese sauce, pour in some of the pasta water. Full of starches, the pasta water is going to add that extra magic to make everything come out perfect.
- Serve right away. When mixed with the pasta the cheese sauce will start to solidify, giving it that melted cheese texture. The sooner you eat, the better the whole experience will be.