This year's March Macness, the third installment of my March Madness-style mac and cheese competition, was particularly awesome in my opinion, and partially because of this Garlic Bread Mac. One of my absolute faves from this year, I was thrilled when this mac and cheese made the finals, before ultimately losing to Spinach Artichoke Dip Mac.
With a full head of garlic in this mac and cheese, plus garlic powder, the dish doesn't just double down on the carbs (helloooo pasta-filled bread), but also packs a super garlicky punch. While this technically makes about 8 servings, you might realize you've eaten most of it yourself before you even get it to the table!
GARLIC BREAD MAC
1 ea large italian loaf or ciabatta
1 ea large garlic head
3½ c whole milk
1½ tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried oregano
⅛ tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbs + ½ c unsalted butter
12 oz pasta, shape of your choice
½ c flour
½ lb parmigiano reggiano, grated
tt parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the loaf of bread on a cutting board, and cut out the center, using a sharp knife to cut through the crust. Scoop out the center, creating a large cavity to hold the mac and cheese. Discard the insides of the bread, or save for another use, and set aside the scooped out loaf.
Separate and peel all the garlic cloves. Use a microplane to grate the garlic until you have about ⅓ of a cup, then smash the rest of the cloves. Add the smashed cloves to a large saute pan, and set aside the microplaned garlic.
Pour the milk into the pan with the smashed garlic, then season with the salt, garlic powder, oregano and pepper and mix well to combine. Place over the lowest heat possible to infuse the milk, about 10 minutes, without steaming or scalding. Stir occasionally
In a small skillet, melt the tablespoon of butter over medium low heat. Add in the microplaned garlic, and sweat until softened and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Do not let it brown or caramelize. Once soft and translucent, remove from the heat.
Bring a large pot of heavily-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente, according to package instructions.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop the smashed garlic out of the infused milk and discard them. Bring the heat to the milk up to medium, then add in the half cup of butter, allowing it to melt slightly before whisking in the flour. Continue to whisk until sauce is thick and smooth, about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off to the sauce, and stir in the sweated garlic, followed by all but ½ cup of the cheese. Toss the pasta in the sauce.
Place the hollowed out loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet, then fill it with the mac and cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, then place in the center of the oven until the cheese on top is golden and bubbling, 5-8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped parsley to taste. Let rest for a few minutes until cool enough to slice to serve.