Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mac & Cheese for Dinner Tonight

I've been craving mac and cheese for a while now. And yes, I want Kraft. But in my 3/4 hearted (a little bit more then half-hearted) effort to not buy processed foods I decided that making it would be much much better.  So after church today I sat down to find the "GREATEST MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE EVER!!! (use god like voice here)  Now listen, I'm a chef and I have no problem making mac and cheese on my own. Sometimes though it's good to find a recipe, to see what the others are doing and what your not. Sometimes they're better, sometimes they're not. A few blogs and websites into the research I noticed that many had referenced Martha Stewart's Recipe for "Perfect Macaroni & Cheese".  Well if so many folks are writing about it, I'm going to give it a whirl.

Out to Hannaford I go, because I'm mad at Price Chopper at the moment due to their lack luster selection of gluten free items.  And hey it takes me a whole extra minute to get to Hannaford, literally.  Goods purchased and back home I come.

Easy enough recipe. She wants you to make your own bread crumbs, but I'm lazy and used whole wheat panko bread crumbs from Ian's   I still sauteed them in butter, but it saved me a step.  I also halved the recipe, because it makes enough for 12, and since we aren't the Duggers, I didn't need that much.

I'll put the recipe here and in the recipe section of the blog but if your not a well versed cook, definitely check out Martha's page as she gives lots of tips and reasons why you do things.

So with no further ado.....

Martha Stewarts Perfect Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 12
6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

2. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.

4. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

So here is the Mac & Cheese Round up:

All done and Hot out of the Oven!
It's good, really good.  I was chatting on the phone with my bestie Michelle while I made this and neglected to keep some of the cheese out for the top. Oh well. Didn't matter, was just a little cheeseier in the sauce.  Good cheese is a must. Your going to spend upwards of $15 on cheese if your making the full recipe.  Don't skimp and get crappy cheese- and grate it yourself. It only takes a few minutes, less if you have a food processor, and that way there are no preservatives. And really fifteen bucks isn't bad when you think it serves 12, so spend the money and get the good stuff. All in all I'll make this again. It was de-lish, perfect if your going to have folks over for dinner or going to a pot luck.

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