Infused Mac and Cheese

Ahhhhhh. There are few more stonerific foods than Mac and Cheese. And you know what? There are few better comfort foods, period!

Cannabis fans love comfort food, only turned up to 11. And that’s what this pan of velvety-smooth, baked mac and cheese is like.

So, no. This is not the time when you add a stick of cannabutter to a box of that day-glo mac and cheese. (Although there IS a time for that move, trust us.)

This is the time when you use your cannabutter to really show off, and you infuse some cream to go along with it—easy peasy. You throw in some truly good cheese and some crumbs if you like them, and before you know it, you have a huge pan of creamy, cheesy, melty goodness that is waiting to take you away like Calgon.

(Can you make this vegan, even? Yes you can! We’ll go there below. Does it taste the same? No it does not! But it’s pretty damn good, truly.)

(You’re worried about protein, you say? Use chickpea pasta like the vegans. You’re worried about fat? Get out. Just kidding, sort of—I mean we’re cooking with cannabis, which needs to cling to fats or alcohol, so…yeah.)

(Can you put these into little muffin tins instead of a big pan and bake them for a party? Yes you can! And no one will ever leave you alone again if you do!)

Okay, here we go!

Infused Mac and Cheese Recipe

Now the magic starts.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 stick cannabutter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups infused milk, half-and-half, or cream (we like cream because we hate our arteries and we love flavor)
  • powdered garlic, salt, and finely ground white pepper to taste (or just salt and pepper, if that’s you)
  • 1 cup grated sharp, hard cheese for the top—we like Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1 cup each, 2 cups total, of two other cheeses, semi-hard, like cheddar, jack, gouda, provolone, gruyere, havarti, etc.

Can you add more cheese? Sure. Can you add less? No. Let’s go!

How to Make it:

  1. First infuse your milk, half-and-half, or cream. Follow our instructions here to do that.
  2. Next, cook the pasta in a saucepan until al dente, so not too much. You don’t want it to be mushy; it should be firm enough to stand up to cheese sauce and a little broiling. Remember, salt your cooking water and use a drop or two of cooking oil in it to avoid the pasta sticking to itself. If you use chickpea pasta, expect your water to foam and use a larger pot.
  3. In a different saucepan over low heat, melt the cannabutter. Form a paste by whisking in the flour, and then gradually whisk in the infused milk, cream, or half-and-half until smooth. This will be your white sauce.
  4. Bring the white sauce to a moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until it bubbles and has thickened. Remove it from the heat.
  5. Add the shredded cheeses—but not the cup of hard cheese for the top—and stir until they have melted into your sauce. Season to taste with garlic if you’re using it, and salt and the pepper you like.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Grease a 9-by-13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with oil or nonstick spray. Coat the macaroni in the hot cheese sauce and transfer to the greased pan. Top with the hard cheese.
  7. Broil several inches from the heat for a few minutes, watching carefully, until your mac and cheese looks brown and delicious. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before cutting into it—trust us.

Why Infuse Mac and Cheese

Oh, let me count the ways!

First of all, it’s full of delicious fat, and that means it can handle some cannabinoids. You can use infused butter, cream, and even oil in mac and cheese—more than one place for your cannabis to hang.

Second, although some kinds of cheese are mild, you also have flavors with a little more bite. These are excellent at hiding slightly more assertive plant flavors. I always add some parmesan, sharper cheddar, or even blue cheese to a dish like this to give it some kick—and disguise any plant taste. Garlic is also your friend on this point, and it’s delicious in mac and cheese for grownups.

Third, cannabis and comfort food really do go together. It’s just a pairing that “feels” right—at least here in the US.

Finally, if you cook with cannabis infusions on the regular, you probably have cannabutter around, and it’s pretty easy to infuse the cream.

Get Creative

You don’t have to leave it where we did, by the way. Here are some amazing ways to mix this recipe up and make it different while keeping it infused:

  • Like crumbs on top? Just saute some panko crumbs in butter or oil with garlic or salt and pepper and mix them with your hard cheese topping;
  • Use a blend of white cheeses such a mozzarella, Manchego, ricotta, and Asiago, and add sauteed garlicky spinach or even pesto to your dish;
  • Make two of your cheeses cheddar and smoked gouda, and add smoked paprika and bacon if you eat it (or coconut bacon if you don’t);
  • Add cooked lobster meat to a blend of mild cheeses—we suggest gouda, edam, and ricotta or cream cheese;
  • Go for a blend of cheddar, pepper jack, and queso seco cheeses, and add in roasted bell peppers or green chiles.

Honestly, it doesn’t need a lot of help. It’s so good.

Final Thoughts on Infused Mac and Cheese

For those days when you can’t even? Sure, pop that cannabutter into your box mix! We get it. We have the box on the shelf, too.

But this is an old classic done just right, which turns it into a special event. No one can resist this mac and cheese, especially when it’s infused with some amazing flower or concentrate.

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