I have a question about the recipe "Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese" from Genius Recipes. What combo of cheese can I use (kids involved)?
It mainly depends on how finicky the kids are, although you might want to consider the cost as well.
For sure the white cheddar would be an excellent base. This is actually the cheese suggested in the Modernist Cuisine's mac-and-cheese recipe.
Whether or not the Fontina or Asiago are suitable depends partly on the provenance of the two cheeses. Genuine Fontina from the Aosta Valley is quite pungent, and may not be well appreciated by kids. Same with Asiago DOP. Both Fontina and Asiago are made domestically, typically with a much more mild flavor profile. Of course, the domestic varieties will be less expensive than their genuine Italian namesakes.
I'm not so sure I'd use genuine Parmesan cheese (Reggiano Parmigiano) for such a preparation, it's very expensive. Also, I'm not inclined to mix genuine Reggiano Parmigiano with other cheeses. Domestic supermarket grade Parmesan might be a consideration.
Gruyere would probably be a good addition, again the domestic versions are milder in flavor than their European counterparts (French, Swiss).
I've tried SO many combinations of cheese or mac and cheese, I couldn't begin to count the variations. One of the things I've learned is, less is more. I never use more than 3 cheeses and I choose them by thinking about what I need the cheeses to do. I need one to melt beautifully, I need one for a good overall flavor, and I sometimes throw one in there for a sharp high note. The combination I continue to come back to is fontina, a good white cheddar or gruyere and a cheap pecorino romano. I don't always use the pecorino, and I often just put it in the topping. I sweet clear of cheeses that are too aged (and often most expensive), because they often don't melt well and sometimes separate and become greasy.
Less is more, the simpler the better. As for children...I find, more often than not, that they prefer Kraft no matter what cheeses you use. For a day the children are away, I love throwing in a few handfuls of gorgonzola.
Thanks for the replies but I could not put the advice to use. I was really looking forward to trying this out. The kids are young teen boys, not really kids, this was a request from one for an amazing Mac n cheese. The fontina and Asiago were from SAMs club so likely domestic or not aged. But we had a plumbing emergency and could not use water. I had to put everything back in the fridge. We went out to dinner and to a Holliday inn express nearby so we can have showers and use a toilet and I am flying out tomorrow.
Based on your target audience, if this opportunity ever arises again, I suggest you try a mix of domestic white cheddar and one other cheese, either domestic Fontina or domestic Gruyere ("Swiss").
It should end up being impressively tastier than the benchmark Kraft box without being totally unrecognizable as mac-and-cheese.
As PieceOfLayerCake mentions, it would be best to restrict the number of cheeses you use. Personally, I would not combine more than two. The more cheeses you combine, their individual distinctive qualities are paved over by others.