Make the ultimate Mac & Cheese: Tillamook’s Executive Chef Josh Archibald shares his secrets

Tillamook's Mac & Cheese, Grilled Cheese, Cheese Curds, and cheesy tomato soup
Tillamook's Mac & Cheese, Grilled Cheese, Cheese Curds, and cheesy tomato soup /

At Tillamook, nobody knows cheese quite like Executive Chef Josh Archibald. Guilty Eats had the honor of not only meeting Josh, but enjoying meals prepared by Tillamook’s best, including the most delicious Mac & Cheese my taste buds have ever had!

Now, I love Mac & Cheese at any time of the year, but there’s something about fall and winter that make me crave Mac & Cheese the most. Earlier this year, Tillamook invited me to Tillamook, Oregon! It was great representing Guilty Eats and get to know the brand more. Eating all of the cheese and all of the ice cream is what taste bud dreams are made of, so thanks for having me, Tillamook! Let’s get all the cheesy details.

How to make the ultimate Mac & Cheese with Tillamook

First step, take a few deep breaths and forget everything you know (or thought you knew) about Mac & Cheese. Pretend this is a new meal you are putting together for the first time. Trust the process and follow the tips shared by Josh Archibald, below. Kitchen newbie? Amateur chef? No worries, same here! Josh broke this down as simple as possible so we can make this Mac & Cheese the Tillamook way.

The quotes and tips below have been shared by Tillamook’s Executive Chef, Josh Archibald.

  • Robust pasta: Josh suggests we use a robust pasta, commenting that we have to consider “its shape and how well the sauce will adhere to the nooks, crannies, and holes of the pasta.”
  • Undercook the pasta: “Always undercook the pasta, because you will toss it with hot sauce, and then back for a few minutes,” Josh recommends. “…reduce the cook time of the pasta by about one to 1.5 minutes.”
  • Tillamook cheese: I mean, come on. This is a must! You can’t create the ultimate Mac & Cheese without Tillamook. For this meal, you’ll need a blend of medium and sharp cheddars for the sauce. And Josh says that if you want a cheesy stretch or pull, go for Tillamook Mozzarella or even the Mexican Shred blend.
  • Seasoning: Josh melts butter before adding in the seasonings, then adds flour to make the roux. Josh gives the spices (black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder) “a chance for a few moments of direct heat” to make the seasoning “more flavorful and aromatic.”
  • Patience and whisk: Patience is one of the ingredients when creating a good mac & cheese. Josh comments to turn the heat up slowly and whisk often, “the maximum amount of thickening happens at about 190 degrees.” Add shredded cheese, allowing it to melt.
  • Red wine vinegar: Josh finishes up the sauce with a few drops of red wine vinegar, sharing that “the acid helps cut through some of the richness of the dish.”
  • Gently combine: Very gently, mix a 1:1 ration of cooked pasta and warm sauce to guarantee a creamy mac & cheese.
  • Cheese it up! Did you think we were done with the cheese? No, sir! Go ahead and add more cheese on top of the dish and then add a “crunchy element,” such as breadcrumbs, potato chips, etc. Heat in a 425 degree oven until these toppings begin to roast.

And there you have it, the perfect mac & cheese, Tillamook style, thanks to Executive Chef Josh Archibald. Will you be making some this holiday season?

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