Le Food Snob

Mac and Cheetos {the attic copy-cat}

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A few weeks ago at a much needed happy hour I was introduced to Mac and Cheetos at The Attic on Broadway. The Attic is known for their Mac and Cheetos made with crushed flaming hot Cheetos on top. That’s the basic Mac and Cheetos dish–a creamy Mac and cheese topped with Cheetos. But you can customize it by adding lots of goodies like bacon, (soy) chorizo, (alligator) andouille sausage, avocado, mushroom, crab, etc. There were three of us at our table and we each ordered our own dish. People stared. It’s a dish meant to be shared as an appetizer but I happen to think it makes a perfect small entree.

Ever since eating those Mac and Cheetos I’ve been wanting to recreate the dish at home. Tonight I did. The Attic should watch out. I think my version is pretty stiff competition!

sauce ingredients.

  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 1/2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. mild white semi-soft cheese (like Fontana), grated
  • 1/2 c. colby-jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Flaming Hot Cheetos

pasta ingredients.

  • 8 oz dry pasta (your favorite shape)
  • 1/2 c. mild white semi-soft cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. colby-jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (optional)

directions.

  1. To prepare sauce, melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, whisking constantly, two minutes.
  2. Slowly add cream, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  3. Add cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. To prepare pasta, cook pasta two minutes less than package directions reserving about a cup of the water used to cook the noodles – it will finish cooking in the oven. Rinse pasta in cold water and drain well.
  6. Combine pasta and sauce in a medium bowl; mix thoroughly. If your sauce turns out to be too thick, thin it out a bit by add some pasta water. You want the sauce to turn out sorta soupy. Don’t worry – some of the liquid will be absorbed while baking.
  7. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheese and chili powder (if using).  Mix crushed Cheetos with melted butter and sprinkle evenly over the top of the dish. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Let stand five minutes before serving. Serves four.

I believe I pulled off the perfect copy-cat dish. Dare I say that my dish might be even better than The Attic’s?! I took a recipe I previously tried that uses chipotle powder and tweaked it slightly. I figured chipotle powder would pair well with the hot Cheetos. (I was right; however, if the Flaming Hot Cheetos provide enough spice for you, you can omit the chipotle powder.) But the real difference, I believe, was the additional layer of cheese I spread on top before topping with Cheetos. I did this because my friend’s voice echoes in my mind. The night we all had our own dish of Mac and Cheetos before us, she mentioned that she liked the dish in spite of the fact that the sauce was creamy. She clarified that she prefers Mac and Cheese that’s stringy, where the cheese stretches out when you bring the fork to your mouth. My friend would be proud of this dish! The top layer of cheese gives that exact effect. 

Recipe rating: 

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