Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mac & Cheese, Please?

I'll confess - I've never made macaroni & cheese that doesn't come from that blue box. So for meatless Friday, I decided to try it. It turned out tasting great, and although it requires constant attention, it was fairly simple. It's definitely an indulgent comfort food (read:not friendly on the waistline), so next time I will try a more healthy version of mac & cheese.


Classic Macaroni and Cheese
from America's Test Kitchen

Bread Crumb Topping:
6 slices (about 6 oz.) good-quality white sandwich bread torn into rough pieces
3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

Pasta and Cheese:
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp cayenne (optional)
5 c. milk
2 c. monterrey jack cheese, shredded
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
I added 1 tsp of freshly ground pepper

Directions:
-Bring 4 qt. water to a rolling boil in a non reactive dutch oven over high heat.Add the macaroni and 1 Tbsp salt and stir to separate noodles. Cook according to package directions a minute or two past the 'al dente' stage and drain.

-In the now empty dutch oven, heat the butter over medium high heat until foaming. Add the flour, mustard, cayenne (if using) and whisk well to combine.Continue whisking until the mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color (about 1 minute).

-Whisking constantly, gradually add the milk.-Bring the mixture to boil, whisking constantly (the mixture must reach a full boil to fully thicken), then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream (about 5 minutes).

-Off the heat, whisk in the cheeses and 1 tsp salt (I used a little more) until the cheeses are fully melted. Add the pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is steaming and heated through (about 6 minutes).

-Transfer the mixture to a broiler-safe 13x9-in baking dish.

-Pulse the bread and the butter in a food processor until the crumbs are no larger than 1/8-in. (about 15 1-sec pulses).-Sprinkle noodles evenly with the bread crumbs.

-Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position in the oven and broil until the crumbs are deep golden brown (3-5 minutes) rotating the pan if necessary for even browning.

-Cool about 5 minutes and serve.

1 comment:

Renea said...

Hi Melissa! I tagged you for a meme!
http://sweetsavorysouthern.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/catching-up-on-my-blogging/