November 28, 2008

Martha's Mac-and-Cheese

From Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! For the Holidays, I usually provide the dessert... but I couldn't resist making this as a side dish.

This is my all-time favorite comfort food. I've read the reviews and people said this is a great recipe cause after its prepared and eaten, I can freeze the rest and reheat whenever. I halved the original recipe because the full recipe yields 12 servings.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated Gruyère or 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (usually 1/2 box)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. I didnt have bread so i just used some butter & breadcrumbs. Next time i will try it with the bread.

2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining tablespoons of butter in a high-sided skillet (dont have one so i used a larger than medium sauce pan) over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 1.5 cups cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/8 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.

5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle all the remaining cheese, and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

It came out pretty good. I think it could have used more milk & cheese... because i felt that it dried up rather quickly when we reheated it.

Other items you can add, if you like:
- canned tuna
- frozen peas or veggies
- diced ham


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