Sunday, October 08, 2006

Macaroni & Cheese

2 + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or margarine), plus about 1 tablespoon for casserole dish
4 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into ¼-to-½-inch pieces
2¾ cups milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
2¼ cups (about 9 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated Gruyere
2 cups dry elbow macaroni

Fill a large pot with water. Bring to boil. Add macaroni – don’t cover with a lid; cook 1-2 minutes less 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.

While pasta is cooking, grate both cheeses. Set aside.

Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease 1½-quart casserole dish and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in microwave . Cut crusts off bread slices and discard. Tear bread into bite-size pieces. Pour some of the melted butter into a large bowl. Toss bread pieces in melted butter, adding the rest of the melted butter as you work. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk. Be careful not to scald the milk. It should not boil!

In a separate high-sided pan/skillet, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Using a flat-bottom whisk, cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Slowly pour the hot milk into the pan with the butter and flour. Continue whisking until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick (2-3 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salt, cheddar cheese, and Gruyere cheese. Dump cooled macaroni into the pot you cooked it in. Pour in the cheese sauce and stir to coat all the noodles.

Pour the noodle-cheese mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Scatter breadcrumbs over the top.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

When you’re ready to cook the dish, remove from frig about while the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Bake, UNCOVERED, until browned on top, about 30-45 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Notes: I prefer to use 2% milk for this recipe. I also use Oroweat's Country White bread for the breadcrumbs. Excellent with ribs or spiral-baked ham.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Comfort Food: Classic Favorites and Great New Recipes

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At 7:57 PM, Blogger tanabata said...

Oh yum!! My mom used to make great macaroni and cheese- really cheesy! I haven't had homemade macaroni and cheese in years!

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Les said...

Yum is right! This is such a great recipe. The first couple of times I made it, it seemed quite involved. Now it's pretty easy, especially if I work on one step while another is underway. And if I want it extra cheesy, I double the Gruyere (which is easy to do since it's difficult to find a 4 oz. package.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous sassymonkey said...

Ohhh I've often topped my mac and cheese with bread crumbs but never bread chunks. Mmmm I like this idea.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Les said...

Sassymonkey, I think it's the bread chunks that make this dish so good. Well, that and the two cheeses. I tend to add a little more butter to the breadcrumbs (just drizzle it over them once the dish is all ready to bake). Definitely not a low-cal/low-cholesterol dish! But great comfort food.

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Jen Jackson said...

I had never had anything but Kraft before eating this so I was a little skeptical of 'white' mac & cheese, but it is sooooo delicious.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Les said...

It is, isn't it, Jen? I'll have to make it again next month when Amy's home. Maybe we should have it with a ham for Christmas! Mmmm.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Bellezza said...

I make Martha's recipe for Mac and cheese all the time. It is so the best. Ultimate comfort food!

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Les said...

Yep! And now I'm in the mood to make it again. I should probably go for a long run first! It's not exactly low-cal/low-fat.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Amy said...

i made it the other night for the boys and they LOVED it :)

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Les said...

Amy - Good to hear! I was going to make it to go with the ribs I made the other night, but was too tired. I should probably just make it (maybe a weekend day) and have a salad on the side.


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