January 23, 2010


Delicious Macaroni baked in a smooth and creamy Cheese sauce with a crisp Buttery topping.  Macaroni and Cheese is another "can't live without" classic American comfort food that is easy to make.  Making it the best is simple by using the best ingredients like good quality real Cheese and real Butter.  You can't get that from a box.  I use fresh Sour Dough Bread as part of the Buttery topping to make it taste even better.  When you bring a hot bubbling dish of Macaroni and Cheese to the table and your family and friends taste how incredible it is, they will know you are Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

2 T  Butter, to grease baking pan
8 oz  (2 c dry) Dry Macaroni (or other pasta like penne, rotini, farfalle)
1 t  Sea Salt, to season water for Pasta
1/2  Stick  Butter, unsalted
1 Garlic clove, finely minced
3 T  Shallot, finely minced (may substitute Onion)
1/4 c  All Purpose Flour
1 c  Milk, whole
1 c  Heavy Cream
1/8  t   Nutmeg, ground
1 t  Sea Salt, fine grain
1 t  Pepper, black fresh ground
2 t  Thyme, dried or fresh
1 t  Dry Mustard Powder (mild)
2 c  Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (Preferably White Cheddar)(about 8 oz.)
1 c  Gruyere Cheese, grated (about 4 oz.)
1/2 c  Milk, whole
1 1/2 c  Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 6 oz.)
2 T  Parmesan Cheese, grated
1  1/2 c  Fresh Bread Crumbs (Sour Dough is best) or Panko Bread Crumbs
2 T  Butter, melted

Options:  You can add one or more of the following to the Cheese sauce:  Sautéed Mushrooms, Cooked Lobster, Diced Jalapeno Peppers, Diced Tomatoes, Cooked Sausage, Roasted Chicken, Ham Chunks or whatever you like to make it your own.

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a very large baking dish or deep casserole dish or foil pan.  Use a cookie sheet under your baking dish to make transfer easier and safer and to catch any dripping while it cooks.  Prepare all the ingredients above for the recipe.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove then add 1 t Salt to water then add the Pasta and boil until just cooked.  Test it at 6-7 mins for doneness.  Do not over cook.

3.  While Pasta boils, in a large pot melt 1/2 stick of Butter on medium heat.  Then saute the minced Garlic and Shallot (or onion) for 1 minute.

4.  Add the Flour to the melted Butter and whisk well for 2 minutes.  Keep the Garlic and Shallot moving so they do not burn and scrape the bottom of the pot well  as you whisk to prevent scorching.

5.  Turn the heat up to medium high on the flour butter mixture and add 1 cup  Milk and 1 c Heavy Cream whisking rapidly until it begins to boil.  While constantly whisking, allow to boil 1 minute making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to keep from scorching. 

6.  After 1 minute of boiling reduce heat to medium low and add the Nutmeg,  Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Mustard Powder and continue to whisk for 2 minutes then remove from heat.  Add the 2 c mild Cheddar and 1 c  Gruyere grated Cheeses to the pot and stir in well until cheese is melted and well incorporated, about 3 minutes off heat.  Taste for need for Salt and Pepper and add as needed.  Now add the remaining 1/2 c of Milk by whisking until well mixed.
*Nutmeg is a classic white sauce ingredient that will add just a background taste that enhances the sauce.

7.  Drain the Pasta very well and combine with the Cheese sauce and mix well then transfer to the baking dish.  Cover with 1 1/2 c  Sharp Cheddar Cheese. 

8.  Melt 2 T Butter and combine with Grated Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Bread Crumbs (Sour Dough is best but any good Bread will work) or Panko Bread Crumbs fluffing with a fork.  To make fresh bread crumbs place 5-6 slices of Fresh Bread without crusts into a food processor and pulse until fine.  Panko Bread Crumbs are found in most grocery stores near the regular dried bread crumbs or in the Asian food section usually in a bag.  Sprinkle over the Macaroni and Cheese evenly and place in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.

9.  To make the top bubbly and brown, place under the Broiler on High for 1-2 minutes watching VERY closely because it can burn quickly.  Remove just as it browns evenly on top.

10.  Allow rest uncovered to set up for 5 minutes before serving. 

TIP:   Pan fry 6 strips of bacon until crisp then drain fat and crumble onto the top of the baking macaroni and cheese the last 10 minutes of cooking.

TIP:  Use finely crushed crackers (Such as Ritz) in place of the bread for the topping as an option.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2010


Janice P. said...

This was so good and I love all the cheese sauce. It taste like no other. My kids and husband said it was the best Mac n cheese they ever had! Next time I am putting in chicken. THANKS!

Steve-o- said...

Awesome! Loved it, it was a little tricky with the two pots going at the same time (as I am not a multi-tasker).