Really good mac and cheese

Jun 18, 2012 by

When my boys were little, the only mac and cheese they would eat was that awful Kraft in a box….I hated making it for them! Now that they are 18 and almost 21, they appreciate REAL mac and cheese, so thought I would share this recipe from Epicurious.com, which appeared in the now, (sadly) demised, Gourmet Magazine in 2007.  It’s very creamy and the panko topping adds a bit of crunch.

INGREDIENTS

For topping:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 cups panko or 3 cups fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For macaroni and sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter
6 T. all purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 pound coarsely grated extra sharp Cheddar (6 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound elbow macaroni

PREPARATION

Make topping:
Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until well combined.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make sauce:
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour.  Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk.  Bring sauce to a boil (can take 20 minutes or so), whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes.  Stir in cheeses, 2 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper until smooth.  Remove from heat.

Make macaroni:
Cook macaroni in pot of boiling salted water until al dente.  Drain macaroni in colander.  Stir together macaroni and sauce in large bowl.  I have added crispy bacon or panchetta for added flavor.  Transfer to one 4 quart or two 2 quart buttered shallow baking dishes.  Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni (I also sprinkle paprika over topping) and bake until golden and bubbling, 25 (for 2 quart dishes) to 45 minutes (for 4 quart dish).

This makes alot, but it freezes beautifully….ah, comfort food!

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