Thursday, March 27, 2008

Comfort food 2

Last summer, I taught my culinary campers to make stove top macaroni and cheese from Alton Brown's recipe here. I also make that at home occasionally. My husband asked for baked macaroni and cheese for Easter and I must admit that we eat it so rarely (since I am always trying to be on a diet) I had forgotten just how wonderfully fabulous this stuff really tastes. I know everyone has a recipe for this, but here is mine.

1/2 pound of elbow macaroni (I like Barilla brand since the elbows are ridged and slightly twisted thereby allowing them to hold more cheesy goodness to themselves)
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
2 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
14 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese
3 ounces of Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, well salted water cook the pasta. I am not a big fan of al dente macaroni. I am an American and therefore like my macaroni cooked! Cook the macaroni to desired doneness, drain well and cool to room temperature. If you don't cool the macaroni and add it hot to the hot cheese sauce, it will absorb the cheese sauce and the final dish won't be saucy. I don't like that. I like it tender and saucy.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and whisk well for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the milk in 3 stages whisking well after each addition. Simmer for ten minutes and add the hot sauce.
Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the cooked, drained, and cooled macaroni into the mix and pour into a casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top. Let this sit for 5 minutes before serving. Personally, I cannot wait that long to dive in with a spoon.

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