Friday, June 21, 2013

Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese

Even though I already have a kick-ass recipe for mac 'n cheese, I occasionally try a new one, just to see what's out there. I've read a lot of great things about this recipe and I agree with the positive reviews. This is creamy (and of course cheesy), plus the toasted bread cubes on top add a wonderful crunch. It's definitely solid and I would be just as happy to eat this mac and cheese, as I would be to eat my old favorite. I guess you could call it a draw.

Serves 12

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn or diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
2 cups grated gruyere (about 8 oz.) or 1 1/4 cups grated pecorino romano (about 5 oz.)
1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta shape)

1.      Heat oven to 375º F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter (alternately, melt butter in the microwave). Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside. Pull out 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and reserve.
2.      Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Set aside.
3.      In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. In the same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
4.      While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
5.      Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano. Stir reserved macaroni into the cheese sauce.
6.      Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, it's not browned to your liking, broil the topping rather than leaving it in the oven, which may cause the pasta to overcook and sauce to dry out. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

originally from Martha Stewart (adapted from food52)
cutting bread cubes
pouring butter over bread cubes
melted butter
flour and milk whisked in (roux)
stirring in cheeses (spices already added)
adding cooked macaroni
macaroni mixture in the pan

It's going to seem too soupy, but a lot gets
absorbed as it bakes. It ends up just right.
cheese sprinkled
bread cubes on top
Martha Stewart's Macaroni & Cheese

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