Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sharing the Love

Dan asked for the recipe from Sunday's dinner. We just had a big Ham's back end that we cooked for three hours and then made home-made Mac 'n' Cheese. The recipe is below, but this is from Martha Stewart and will take you two hours and $30 to make if you do it by the book.

Here's what I do differently. I don't make my own breadcrumbs. I buy the already made ones in a can at the store. Also, I use the already grated cheese from the grocery and try to get it when it's on sale. Safeway now has Asiago cheese already grated, so I use that and mild cheddar. The combination is really good. I also use about 10-20% more noodles because I think the recipe makes too much sauce. And finally, I leave out the nutmeg. I only like nutmeg in sweet treats. I think it's wierd in mac 'n' cheese and chicken and dumplings.

Also, this takes about 20 minutes of hand's on time to make, but totally worth it.

Macaroni and Cheese
6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
5½ cups milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4½ cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1¼ cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano
1 pound elbow macaroni

You can easily divide this recipe in half; use a 1½-quart casserole dish if you do. Serves 12.

Heat the oven to 375°. 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 bread crumbs 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, for 1 minute.

Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1½ cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.

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.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1½ cups cheddar and ½ cup Gruyere or ¼ cup pecorino Romano; scatter bread crumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.


jason said...

Mmmm, Martha's Mac-n-Cheese.
We've made this so many times at my house that I've lost count now. It's definitely a family favorite.
I leave in the nutmeg but cut down on the cayenne (BigE doesn't like the spice and we don't notice that it's missing).
I also cook the butter + flour longer than a minute... maybe two or three. I go until it's browned a bit.
We always make the full recipe because it freezes so well. Freeze before the final baking step (we usually leave off the bread crumbs when freezing it). It can be heated from frozen or thawed first.

Dan said...

this looks good and with Jason's suggestions. I need to make it this weekend.

TinkerDoodle said...

I will have to try this! sounds great