the mac and cheese recipe you’ve always wanted

i am such a creature of habit. as soon as the weather starts to get cold, all i want to cook and eat is old comfort food classics. it’s only november and i’ve already made my chicken pot pies twice, plus there’s one waiting for a rainy day in my freezer. i start to stock up my cupboards with beans, pasta and baking staples as if there is a chance my local grocery store is going to close down and leave my pantry bare. it’s such odd behavior, but i do it every year. maybe i was a pioneer in another life and was forced to eat canned creamed corn all winter to survive. who knows. the good news about my loony antics is that i’ve made so many recipes so many times that all the kinks have been worked out for your benefit. so don’t judge, just eat!

 

macaroni and cheese (makes 8 to 10 servings)

1lb elbow macaroni, cooked just until al dente
1 stick butter
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups half & half
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated gruyere
1 cup grated fontina
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

preheat oven to 350 degrees.
in a large sauce pan, melt the butter. add the pressed garlic and saute for just a minute. add the flour and cook until the roux is a light blond. heat the milk and half & half in the microwave and slowly whisk into the roux. add the salt and pepper. cook until the sauce is nice and thick, about 5 minutes. off the heat, add all the grated cheeses and stir until melted. pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta. stir in the egg yolks (temper them so they don’t scramble) and the chopped herbs. pour the mixture into a buttered 9×13 casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling. let the mac and cheese rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

this recipe is easy and really quite delicious. the panko breadcrumbs make the perfect crunchy topping without competing with all the different cheeses. for a little variation you could add some crispy panchetta and trade the parmesan for some blue for a more “grown up” dish. cheese dishes don’t typically freeze well, but you could make this a day ahead and bake it off when you’re ready. happy eating!

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About jentarantino

i went to culinary school back in the mid 90's where i soon discovered that most of my favorite things to eat begin with celery, carrots and onions; or at the very least, one of the three. i cooked professionally for a very short time, but never stopped being a "home cook". i used the skills i acquired in school to teach myself to bake and kept up on food trends by becoming addicted to cooking shows and food magazines. i will eventually open my own soup shop, but until that happens, this blog will be my culinary outlet. i hope it inspires you to... stand lovingly over a simmering pot, wait anxiously for rising bread dough, frost cupcakes with care, marinate, brine, and most importantly... make it yourself!
This entry was posted in cheese, Pasta, Recipes, side dishes. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to the mac and cheese recipe you’ve always wanted

  1. Anonymous says:

    YOU SEND MORE RECIPE!!

  2. I love me some good mac and cheese. Yum. 😉

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