The mac and cheese at Morton's is so rich and creamy and has bite, which I learned comes from chile paste. I tweaked Morton's published recipe, like using mild instead of sharp cheddar. It tastes creamier and closer to the restaurant version. You get plenty of kick from the chile paste!
Get ready. It's about to get very cheesy and fattening.
Ingredients:16 ounces large elbow pasta
1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter
4 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
6 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups for the sauce)
5 ounces mild cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded (about 1 1/2 cups for the topping)
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes
3 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1 ounce Swiss cheese, grated (about 6 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon chile paste, like sambal olek (Asian foods section of supermarket)
3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs (Asian foods section of supermarket)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F
2. Cook the pasta until al dente (a couple of minutes before recommended cooking time). Keep 1/2 cup of pasta water we'll use later to thin the sauce. Drain but leave a little water on the pasta to keep it moist.
Keep pasta covered in cooking pot to keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions until tender, which is about 1 minute. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, swiss and (6 oz of) cheddar cheese. Stir until melted and fully incorporated. Let the sauce reach a simmer and stir in the chile paste. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce.
4. Remove from heat and use a hand-held electricmixer, beat for about 45 seconds until the cheeses, chili paste and onions are completely blended. The sauce will be thick. Get your reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water and mix well. Season to taste with salt.
5. Ladle the sauce over the pasta and mix well with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a deep, 2-quart baking dish and spread the pasta and cheese evenly. Sprinkle the coarsely shredded cheese over casserole, then sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.