Saturday, November 28, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe makes a ridiculous amount of macaroni and cheese, so if you aren't hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for 12, I would recommend scaling it down.  It's also ridiculoulsly cheesy ... so if you aren't a fan of a milk cheese sauce where you might find a macaroni noodle if you're lucky, you might want to pass on this recipe.  If you are a fan, then enjoy, because this recipe is amazing!

I passed on the breadcrumbs on top.  I'm sure it's good with a crunchy topping, but it's still amazing without it and it does save some time.  I was also short on cheddar cheese for this recipe, but had some extra Monterrey Jack from making the broccoli casserole, so I used a mixture of roughly 4 cups equal amounts of Cheddar and Monterrey Jack.  It also was mild instead of sharp cheddar, but I'm sure it would be equally good as originally written.  Because I was a little light on the cheddar portion, I used a little extra smoked Gruyere.  I'll paste the recipe in as written for the cheeses, but feel free to play around to your heart's content!

Macaroni and Cheese (from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart)


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 500g) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 225g) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 140g) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
500g elbow macaroni

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.
2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.
5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano) over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

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