Cream Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Boy has today been a day here at Aroma Housewares Co. You know, one of those days where you are so incredibly busy you hardly have a moment to take a coffee break (let alone a cream cheese macaroni and cheese), and somehow at the end of the day feel like you’ve accomplished nothing.

I know I did get stuff done today. I cooked 2 new recipes (to be posted in January!), photographed 4, and figured out recipes for a photoshoot we are doing on Thursday. A very food oriented day. Maybe one of the hardest things about cooking all day is feeling like once you leave, you have nothing to show for the day (because it’s all been eaten!). There is a lot more I would have liked to accomplish today, but tomorrow is another day.

Guess that’s just part of the rush before the holidays.

So what better way to force myself, and you, to chill out and relax than by making a recipe that can only truly be enjoyed RIGHT after cooking.

This cream cheese mac and cheese is one of the gooey-est I’ve ever had. I know… I’m sure i’ve said this before. But this time, I really mean it! It would be the perfect recipe for a macaroni and cheese fountain… if such a thing existed.

I only wish the photos showed it better! I cooked this recipe, tasted it. Tasted it again… and again… and again. Then forced myself to walk away before I ate the entire pot. I figured I could wrap it up, leave it in the fridge for the night, then reheat with the Keep Warm setting the next day and it would be good as new to take pictures.

Well I was sadly mistaken. It just wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the gooey, creamy, silky smooth macaroni and cheese I had made the day before. You know, I’m sure, how some meals just don’t reheat well? This is one of those recipes.

So after a day like today where I was running around, I figure dinner just has to be something where I’ll need to make myself sit down after cooking and enjoy it. Just be still for a minute.

Because who would want to waste good macaroni and cheese by letting it get cold?

Ingredients
16 ounces elbow macaroni
2½ cups half-and-half
pinch cayenne pepper
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
3 ounces gruyere, shredded

20-Cup Digital Multicooker with Steam and Sauté-then-Simmer STS®
6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Directions
1. Fill the inner pot of the Aroma Housewares Co multicooker ¾ of the way with water. Set the rice cooker to STEAM for 30 minutes. Close the lid and let come to a boil.
2. Once boiling, add the pasta. Let return to a boil while stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the Aroma multicooker. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes with the lid open the whole time.
3. Once the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water by carefully ladling out into a bowl. Set aside.
4. Turn off the Aroma multicooker and carefully remove the inner pot with oven mitts; drain the pasta and set aside.
5. Return the inner pot to the multicooker and set for Sauté-then-Simmer STS®.
6. Add the half-and-half and cayenne and heat until it comes to a simmer.
7. Simmer for 15 minutes, whisking often.
8. Add the cream cheese and stir until melted.
9. Switch the rice cooker to Keep Warm. Whisk in the cheddar and gruyere until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
10. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
11. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe inspiration from Food Network

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