Friday, February 10, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

Tonight's Menu
Mac N Cheese
Garden Salad
Wine Pairing: Chianti Classico, Pinot Noir

Macaroni and Cheese isn't exactly a gourmet fare but is one of the most popular American comfort food. If mac n cheese seems like a kids meal to you, then think again. Use a combination of interesting sharp cheeses, top it with buttered bread crumbs, bake it to perfection and you will have yourself a grown up mac N cheese.
Serve alongside a garden salad or steamed veggies. I love to make macaroni and cheese with broccoli florets. Just add the florets to the boiling pasta for the last minute and then proceed with the recipe. 
Another variation could be adding cooked bite sized boneless chicken pieces or cooked ham to the pasta (with or without broccoli) just before adding the cheese sauce and then proceed with the baking. 

Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
3 ½ C macaroni pasta
4 ½ C cheese (3 C sharp white cheddar and rest could be Gruy√®re and/or parmigiana )
5 ½ C whole milk
½ C all purpose flour
8 tbsp (1stick) unsalted butter
4 slices white bread
salt to taste
cracked black pepper
nutmeg powder to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare a large casserole dish by spraying with oil. Keep aside. De-crust the bread and tear them into small pieces. 
  2. Melt 2 tbsp butter pour it on the bread crumbs, toss and keep aside. 
  3. Warm the milk and keep aside. 
  4. Keep a large pot of salted water to boil for the paste while you make the cheese sauce. 
  5. In a pan melt the remaining 6 tbsp butter, add the flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time, while whisking, to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking at medium low heat whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg, all but 1/2 cup cheese. Keep aside. 
  7. Add the macaroni pasta to boiling water and cook for only 2-3 minutes, inside should be underdone. Rinse in cold water and drain well. 
  8. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. Pour the mixture in the prepared casserole. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and buttered breadcrumbs on top. 
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes till golden brown. Serve hot with a garden salad. 

The real macNcheese

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