Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cheesiest Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Last week my grandma was visiting.  Before she headed to the airport to return back to Washington, I wanted to make her a yummy, filling meal to stick to her bones for the flight home.  I had visions of her plane getting stuck on a runway with no extra food in her bag.  So I made sure she had good food in her tummy.  

Like most grandmas, she loves home-cooked comfort food.  I knew she'd love this super cheesy macaroni and cheese.  

This is another great recipe from Martha Stewart.  Martha likes expensive cheese so beware when shopping for her recommendations in the gourmet cheese aisle.  I bought a Trader Joe's New Zealand sharp white cheddar and a white cheddar Gruyere combination cheese.  You can experiment with the cheese varieties to stick within a budget.  The only thing I'd recommend it to use real cheese, no artificial cheeses.  They just don't melt well, and they're artificial.  Go for the REAL stuff!

Also, if you have small baking dishes, serve up individual macaroni and cheese meals.  I think they're adorable!

Serves 12

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter (you'll use 2 T. for the bread and then 6 T. for the cheese sauce)
6 slices {good} white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces

5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (I usually leave it out because some of our kids don't like spicy)
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni, or a similar shaped noodle


1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter or spray a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.  Place small bread pieces in a medium bowl.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in microwave safe dish.  Pour over bread and toss.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk.  Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large pot.  When butter bubbles, add flour.  Whisk one minute.

3.  While whisking, SLOWLY pour in hot milk.  Don't pour all milk in at one time or you'll have lumpy cheesy sauce.  Not good!  Continue cooking, until mixture bubbles and thickens.  This can take a few minutes.  Be patient.

4.  Remove pan from heat.  Stir in seasonings, 3 cups of the cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups of the Gruyere.  Set aside.

5.  Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package.  Drain, rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  Stir macaroni into cheese sauce.

6.  Pour mixture into prepared 3-quart dish, or small greased individual baking dishes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.  Bake until browned on top, 20  minutes or so.  Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

No comments: