Some foods have magic powers of seduction. Three years ago, I was standing in my cousin Candy's kitchen on Thanksgiving, watching the highly-choreographed ballet of food preparation underway, when I spotted an innocent-looking little cheese plate that Candy had set out for people to nosh on until lunch was ready. Having recently acquired an affinity for goat cheese on a trip to Normandy earlier that fall, I smeared what appeared to be an herbed chèvre on a cracker and popped it in my mouth. It wasn't quite as tangy as goat cheese, and though I wasn't sure what it was, I knew it was tasty.
Embarrassingly, I'd soon eaten almost all of the round piece of cheese, and had to ask the hostess what it was that had just caused me to lose all self-control in the face of an even bigger meal to come. Candy told me it was called Boursin, she bought it at Costco, and she liked serving it when entertaining. Ever since that fateful day, I've been engaged in a full-blown love affair with Boursin, and I don't even want to think about how many foil-wrapped packages I've consumed on crackers since then.
Hence, when I was scouring the web looking for compelling recipes to satisfy my New Year's resolution of experimenting more in the kitchen and I came across a recipe for macaroni and cheese employing Boursin, it skyrocketed to the top of my to-do list. In my years of Boursin consumption, it had never once occurred to me to use the cheese as a cooking ingredient, or anything more than a snack, so I was curious to see how it would work in a different context. I recruited my favorite sous-chef, whose impeccable cheese grating skills rescued my manicure, and we made quick work of this mac and cheese recipe.
Both Justin and I really enjoyed this recipe, which was creamy and luscious, though the herbs and garlic included in the Boursin were what truly made the dish spectacular. It wasn't as good as my favorite mac and cheese recipe, which includes bacon, gruyère cheese, and deeply caramelized onions, but it also took significantly less time to prepare, making it a more viable weeknight dinner option. I'll definitely be making this dish again (though probably not anytime soon, as its caloric content must be truly formidable), though I would bake it longer than the 5-10 minutes suggested in the original recipe, as my breadcrumbs did not brown in the slightest. Based on other recipes I've consulted online, I've adjusted the baking time to 25-30 minutes instead.
Boursin Mac and Cheese
adapted from Kitchen of Friends
1 pound short pasta, I prefer pipette
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 c. milk
1 package Boursin cheese, Garlic and Fine Herbs flavor
3/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400.
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and whisk it constantly until it forms a paste. Gradually add milk and turn up the heat to high, continuing to whisk. When mixture boils, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add Boursin, cheddar and parmesan.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Combine in a large baking dish with cheese sauce, and cover with breadcrumbs.
3. Bake 25-30 minutes, until breadcrumbs are browned, and sauce is bubbly.