Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mac n Cheese

Jesus loves me. This is why the good Lord invented macaroni and cheese.

This recipe has all the lovely flavor of homemade macaroni and cheese but without the grainy texture that you sometimes get when you melt cheddar cheese. The secret is adding part of the pasta water to the cheese sauce! AH HA!!! Now you know.

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.

For topping:

1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) or 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread) And lucky me, I had a partial loaf of homemade bread just waiting to be bread crumbs!
1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For macaroni and sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound elbow macaroni

Make topping:
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Make sauce:
Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.

Make Macaroni:
Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 buttered 2-quart shallow baking dishes.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

For maximum effectiveness, enjoy this hot while watching Harry and the Hendersons. Good times.


Granny on the Web said...

Used to remind me of stodgy school dinners when this would stick to your spoon like glue.
I have since learnt to make it similarly to this... thanks for reminding me of an old favourite... and thanks for the extra tip about the cheese sauce.
Love Granny

Joan said...

Yum. Thanks for the tip with the pasta water.

Woman in a Window said...

Looks great. Now if only I could get my kids to eat real cheese. How did they get so hooked on the synthetic stuff anyway?