Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Macaroni & Cheese

I have been all about recipes this week. It's a change from my usual ways of cooking at home. I'm liking this recipe following thing. It makes planning out my dinner a little more organized. That, or just having planned out specific meals for the week has been helpful. I've been on a cooking frenzy, since we've been eating out A LOT lately.

Here's my version of mac 'n' cheese I made last night, taken from Back To The Table, by Art Smith, Oprah's guy:

1 lb penne or elbow macaroni (Ha! I used campanelle pasta)
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 C all-purpose flour
4 C milk, heated (I forgot to warm the milk ahead of time)
2 C (8 oz) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook, white)
2 C (8 oz) finely chopped American cheese (I used shredded Monterey Jack)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Hot pepper sauce (I omitted)
1/4 C (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Ha! Why measure?! Parmesan cheese is so good!!)

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with olive oil and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a deep 4-quart casserole.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low & simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat & stir in 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of monterey jack cheese. Season to taste.

Combine the remaining cheeses. Spread one third of the noodles over the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the cheese & a third of the sauce. Repeat, using another third of noodles with remaining cheese & half of sauce. Finish with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake until bubbly & golden brown around edges, about 30 minutes. **You can pre-assemble the dish and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. If you do that, I suggest you bake it covered with foil for the first 20 or so minutes, and then remove the foil and continue to bake until done.

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