Sunday, March 23, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

I love mac and cheese and when I decided to make it for Easter, I knew I was going to go all out (meaning full fat!), so I searched and found this recipe on Food Network. I made a few substitutions for convenience and price, and probably shouldn't have. I used bagged shredded cheddar and 6 cheese Italian blend, and I thought the sauce was a little gritty. I think it would have been better with higher quality cheeses. Now I know...

Macaroni and Cheese

1 tablespoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1 pound large elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
16 oz. shredded cheddar
6 oz. shredded 6 cheese Italian blend
2 cups panko

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In large pot filled with water add 3 pinches of salt and the macaroni and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking until a roux or paste forms. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, all cheeses, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Cook until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 by 9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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