August 28, 2008

Homemade Mac & Cheese

So my honey, if you can believe it, has NEVER had homemade Mac & Cheese!! I immediately had to remedy that problem. Okay, here's what you do. Really not as daunting as one may think. 

Here are your ingredients, 1 lb. elbow macaroni, flour, unsalted butter (my photo shows salted, I didn't realize until the picture had been taken), 8 oz. Monterey Jack, 8 oz. Sharp Cheddar, dry mustard, Cayenne (optional, doesn't make it spicy, just adds a little something in the background), sandwich bread, milk (whole, skim, 1%, 2%, whatever will do) and salt.

This recipe, for Family Style Macaroni & Cheese, is from my 2004 issue of Cooks Illustrated. I absolutely LOVE Cooks Illustrated!! The magazine basically tests lots of different recipes for everyday favorites and then publishes the best of the best. They also rate different kinds of food products and cooking supplies. Great magazine... definitely check it out!!

So here it is:

Family Style Macaroni & Cheese (Serves 6-8 as main course or 10-12 as a side)

Bread Crumb Topping
  • 6 slices of sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold cut into small pieces
Pasta & Cheeses
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of powdered mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups of milk (any kind will do)
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I use my food processor)
  • 8 oz. (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I use my food processor)

1. FOR THE BREADCRUMBS: Pulse bread and butter into food processor until crumbs are no more larger than 1/8 inch, 10-15  1-second pulses. Set aside.

2. FOR THE PASTA & CHEESE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and pre-heat broiler. Meanwhile, bring four quarts of water to boil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon of salt; cook until pasta is tender (8 mins). Drain pasta and set aside in colander. Shred cheeses, with box grater or food processor.
3. In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon of salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.

4. Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9x13-inch baking dish (I use Corning Ware) and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3-5 minutes (WATCH YOUR BROILER AS SOME COOK FASTER THAN OTHERS!), rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes and serve. 

If you prefer, you may also add other stuff to it like, peas, ham or kielbasa. Add these when the pasta if added). Because this was hubby's first go at homemade mac & cheese, I wanted to keep it virginal:)

That's it!! It really only takes about 1/2 hour to prepare and it's hmmmm good. Serve it along with something as a side or on it's own:)



Monday through Sunday said...

YUM! CHEESE!!! I love, love, love Cooks Illustrated!! So helpful! A great subscription to get and keep!

ROXY said...

Oh, another Cooks Illustrated fan!! Isn't it great!! I save all my back issues:) Did you know that they made a cookbook? Yup, one to definitely check out:)

Monday through Sunday said...

I did know that! great stuff!