Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Macaroni and Cheese
Good ol' Martha never fails me.
The first time I made this, I was a bit perplexed by how much work I was putting into dinner (I was working two jobs and time was not on my side). However the results are oh so rewarding, and you'll find yourself craving this indulgent mac and cheese far too often. We love pairing it with something green and healthy (to keep the guilt at bay) and a glass of red wine.
This recipe is another reason why I need to buy this cookbook. It makes ALOT of macaroni, but I'm okay with that.
2 cups (8 oz) dried macaroni
6 slices of bread *
2 tablespoons butter melted
3 tablespoons butter (plus more for baking dishes)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
4 1/2 cups of assorted cheeses (plus 1 1/4 cup for topping)**
coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and cook pasta about 2-3 minutes less than recommended on package (the outside should be cooked, but the inside underdone). Drain and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile make breadcrumbs by either using a food processor to create large crumbs, or chopping coarsely. Transfer to a bowl, and toss with melted butter.
Butter a 1 1/2 quart (I used a 2 qt) baking dish.
Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Whisk in flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until bubbling but not browning. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to make sure to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot, until thickened about 4 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted, then add salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg.
Add pasta to sauce and stir thoroughly to combine. Pour into prepared dishes and top with reserved cheese and then breadcrumbs.
Place dishes on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until bubbling and golden brown. About 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
*Martha recommends white bread with crusts removed, but I think that's just crazy talk. I used some leftover tomato focaccia bread, and I recommend you use whatever you have on hand and leave those crusts on!
**I used a mix of parmesan, romano, smoked gruyere, and herbed gouda.