Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thanksgiving: Macaroni and Cheese

I don't have to convince you that macaroni and cheese is delicious. Pasta, melted cheese, and a crunchy bread topping. It's wonderful, comforting, and filling.
I've made okay macaroni and cheese in the past. But when I came across a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, I decided to try it. Wow. I was mistaken about my macaroni and cheese. This was much better. The pasta was more tender. The cheese sauce was more creamy. It was fantastic. I was a convert immediately.

I mean look at it below. See how incredibly creamy that cheese sauce looks? And it wasn't thin. It stuck to the pasta really well.
Unfortunately for me, I made my macaroni and cheese far too ahead of time and the pasta seized up the cheese sauce making it too thick. Timing is pretty important when it comes to macaroni and cheese. When I heated it back up, the sauce didn't loosen up as I had hoped. Instead, it burned. Boo to that.
But now I know not to make it too far ahead of time. Otherwise, the flavor was still spot on.

Recipe below is adapted from Cook's Illustrated recipe for Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

1 cup panko bread crumps
7 tbsp butter, divided
1 lb pasta (I prefer shells)
6 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp powdered mustard
5 cups whole milk
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Melt 2 tbsp butter in medium sized pan. Add panko bread crumbs and toast until golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool. This may be made 1 day ahead of time.
2. Boil water in a large pot. Add salt. Cook pasta past al dente.
3. While pasta cooks, melt last 5 tbsp butter. Add flour and mustard. Cook and whisk until browned, about 1 minute. You are creating a roux (thickening agent).
4. Pour in milk in a slow stream while whisking continuously breaking up any clumpy flour.
5. Keep stirring for 5 minutes then add cheese to melt. Stir continuously until cheese is fully incorporated into the milk.
6. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to cheese sauce. Mix well. Continue to cook for about 6 minutes until thickened.
7. Place macaroni and cheese in serving dish. Top with toasted panko crumbs and serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! What's special about this mac & cheese over your previous mac & cheeses? (Still looking...)


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