Cook: Ultimate Mac 'n' Cheese

picture of ultimate mac 'n' cheese

Everyone loves mac and cheese.  This recipe is based on several different ones I'd tried in the past, modified throughout the years (sometimes by accident).  It's definitely not diet-friendly, but it's great for a special occasion.  Recipe after the jump.

Ultimate Mac n' Cheese
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1 lb macaroni
4 tbsp flour
6 tbsp butter
2 cups half and half
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp tabasco
8 oz parmesan, grated
4 oz gruyere, shredded
4 oz fontina, shredded
4 oz pecorino, grated
4 oz cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp creole seasonings

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

(2) Boil macaroni in salted water until very al dente, drain
picture of boiling pasta

(3) Meanwhile, melt 4 tbsp butter in a small saucepan
picture of melting butter in small saucepan

(4) Add flour to melted butter, stir for 3-4 minutes [this is called a roux]
picture of mixing flour into melted butter

(5) Add half and half to the roux, stir for 4-5 minutes, until thickened [this is called bechamel]
picture of adding half and half to the flour and butter mixture, making a bechamel

(6) Add 4 oz of the parmesan, tabasco, and white pepper to the bechamel
picture of adding parmesan, tabasco, and white pepper to bechamel

(7) Add garlic and 1 tbsp butter to pasta
picture of adding garlic and butter to pasta

(8) Stir bechamel into the pasta
picture of combining bechamel and pasta

(9) Grease a 9x13 Pyrex dish with butter
picture of greased baking dish

(10) Mix gruyere, fontina, cheddar, pecorino, and 3 oz of the parmesan together
picture of cheese together in mixer

(11) Place one layer of pasta mixture in the dish, top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture, repeat until used up
picture of assembly of pasta and cheese layers

(12) Mix together breadcrumbs, creole seasoning, and remaining parmesan; sprinkle over the dish to coat the pasta and cheese
picture of topping sprinkled onto mac 'n' cheese

(13) Bake 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and top is golden brown
picture of mac <br />n' cheese after it has been baked golden brown

Notes: Shredding the cheese is easier if you have a food processor with a shredder attachment.  Serve with additional tabasco, if you like spiciness.  This mac and cheese reheats really well, so make extra for the next day's lunch!

Special thanks to T and E for letting us use their kitchen!

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