Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese

When I do this recipe, I make two batches - one to eat immediately, and one to freeze. The freezer directions are at the end of the recipe. Next time I will probably add more cheddar cheese.

1 pound cavatappi pasta (I use rotini or elbows because I usually have them on hand)
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon (about a palmful) grill seasoning (I just add my own spices, usually garlic powder and pepper)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
3 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided (I leave this out)
2 tablespoons butter (I only use 1T)
1 medium red onion, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups grated yellow cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups grated Swiss cheese, divided
3 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 deli-style pickle, chopped

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook just shy of al dente, according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and reserve.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin with the grill seasoning, ketchup and yellow mustard. Grab about a tablespoon of meat in your hand and roll it into a small ball. Place the mini meatballs onto a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of EVOO (I don't do this) and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and turn on the broiler.

While the mini meatballs are in the oven, heat a large saucepot over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and the butter. Cook the red onion with some salt and pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over top and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and whisk in 1 cup of each cheese. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce along with the baked meatballs and toss to combine. Pour everything out into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and Swiss cheeses.

If serving immediately, toss the mac under the broiler until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Top with the chopped tomatoes and pickles, and serve.

To freeze, prepare casserole up to the point of putting it under the broiler. Let it cool down, wrap well with plastic wrap and pop into the freezer. When you're ready to cook it up, take it out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the refrigerator. Pop it into a 375ºF oven until heated through, about 35 minutes, and then brown the top under the broiler.

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Recipe source - Rachel Ray


Amy said...

Cynthia, I'm linking up to the Crazy Cooking Challenge here on September 7th and featuring your Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese:

Thanks for a great recipe!

Amy @ A Nest in the Rocks