Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese

In my Antler post, I promised to write about the dinner Foodie made.

Macaroni and Cheese.

The epitome of comfort food.
Along with mashed potatoes, meat loaf and chocolate chip cookies.

And then there's the version of this classic from the Gourmet cookbook that some have called "arguably the best macaroni and cheese on the planet."
Crispy because of the breadcrumb topping, creamy because of the butter, milk, cheese and cream and simply delicious because of the confluence of all these wholesome ingredients.  Especially when stick-to-your-ribs goodness is just the antidote for these mid-winter blues. And, BONUS, it's easy to make.  The original recipe calls for pasta shells and Foodie used conchiglie shells…the sauce nestled inside the little nooks making each bite so incredibly satisfying.  She also added peas that added color and taste. I bet this would be great with gruyere and bacon. 

It is, according to the reviews.

This is definitely not your velveeta or blue box macaroni and's classier and much better than either, despite velveeta's magical melting powers or the blue box’s youthful – but powerful – cult-like following.  Have you ever tried to serve children a macaroni-n-cheese that you lovingly grated, melted and stirred to dish-up only to be greeted with the familiar “I like the yellow stuff better.”  Yeah, I’m familiar with that remark.

When my girls were young, I finally gave up.

They eventually became enlightened.

Then they went to college.

Macaroni and Cheese
From:  Gourmet Cookbook

For Topping:

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (or make your own)
2 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Mac and Cheese:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½-teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (or mix it up)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound curly macaroni, such as cavatappi (cellentani)

Make Topping:
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Toast bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet until pale golden  Cool toasted crumbs; with a fork, toss with cheeses, parsley, and melted butter until butter is evenly incorporated. Leave oven on.

Make Sauce:
Melt butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes.

Whisk in cream, mustard, red pepper flakes, cheese, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth and remove from heat. Cover surface of sauce with wax paper or parchment.

Cook Macaroni and Assemble Dish:
Butter baking dish.

Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Drain in a colander. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sauce. Spread macaroni mixture evenly in baking dish.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni; bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

Eat and prepared to be silent because you are shoveling food in your mouth and it's rude to talk with your mouth full.

We also had a kale and cashew salad and banana bread for dessert.

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