Jack-n-Mac or Mac and Cheese ?

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A pasta dish with so many names, its easily prepared either on your stove-top, and baked in the oven or grill. A perfect one-pot dish for almost any occasion, served straight from the sauce pan or guilded with a crusty topping. My spin on the classic is dressed up a bit for grown-up flavor and is just as welcomed for an elegant dinner or a casual backyard BBQ. Cheddar is the common cheese of choice, but I like using a mixture of cheddar and jack. Sometimes even a bit of Gruyere as well, to put a bit of bite in my baked mac; using a fifty-fifty cheese ratio. Feel free to use chef's poetic license and use more or less Cheddar if you like.

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JACK-n-MAC SERVING SUGGESTION: Serve with my BBQ Sliders & Grilled BBQ Shrimp

George’s Cheddar Jack-n-Mac

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon hot sauce

pinch fresh grated nutmeg

2 cups half & half

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

2 Tablespoons fresh italian parsley, chopped

1 1/2 pounds uncooked elbow, shells, or other small pasta

Melt Butter in a large soup pot or saucepan. Add onion, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add the bay leaves, thyme, diced green chilies, hot sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Stir in the half & half and heat to a simmer. Slowly add the Cheddar, Jack, and Parmesan cheeses, stirring until they melt and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the cooked pasta. Place in a serving dish and eat immediately or sprinkle with Mac Topping, and bake five minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

Optional Additions:

1 cup each Chorizo or smoked sausage, chopped plum tomatoes, smoked ham, pancetta, pulled chicken or grilled shrimp to make your own home-spin.  

For the Mac Topping

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

6 Tablespoons bread crumbs

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1 Tablespoon each fresh cilantro & parsley, chopped

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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