Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recipe #2: Martha's Perfect Mac 'n' Cheese

The first right move we made on this dish was to invite over extra people to help us eat it - and take more home. This recipe is supposed to serve 12 and it is inordinately rich, so a little worried about the dietary consequences of trying to tackle this on our own. But Martha definitely makes a delicious cheesy indulgence perfect for a cold winter night.

MODIFICATIONS: We substituted a horseradish white cheddar for more spice and a bit of regular yellow cheddar for color. I think both worked well. We didn't have fresh nutmeg, however, which may make a difference.

MAKE AGAIN? A crowd-pleaser - and outside the insane amount of cheese grating, not too difficult - so I think this might be a good option for the next potluck or holiday dinner. Thinking about adding carmelized onions or bits of sausage... Click below for the recipe. ~A
Perfect Macaroni and Cheese

• 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.


No comments: