October 18, 2010
It has been insane these past few weeks. Between school, work, home (and the million things in between) it’s been difficult to find time to gather any thoughts to write about. Luckily I’m getting better at managing my time and sorting out my thoughts. This saves you from reading about financial markets and saves me from writing a report for my economics class about a lasagna recipe :-)
Today I would like to share a recipe I tried a while back… some good ol’ macaroni and cheese! I’m not going to tell you that this is the best macaroni and cheese you will ever eat, but I will tell you that it’s pretty darn good. In fact this recipe is probably one of the most popular in the blogging world. If you search for the best mac-and-cheese recipe this one by Martha Stewart is bound to pop up. I had to find out what the hype was all about so I decided to make it and see.
I realized why this recipe is so popular: the sauce. The béchamel sauce of this recipe is what makes this dish “re-heatable”. In other words, you can re-heat this tomorrow and it will still be rich and creamy as when you first ate it. This is very uncommon for typical mac-and-cheese.
Also unlike other mac-and-cheese recipes, this one is not gritty and that is where the cheese plays its role. I never knew this until now but if you use regular cheddar it will cause your mac-and-cheese to be gritty but if you use white cheddar and white cheeses it will have a smoother texture.
However, this recipe is a bit time consuming. You have to make that béchamel sauce (which is basically a flour and milk white sauce) which requires a bit of labor but hey…haven’t you been wanting to make a “béchamel sauce” and be able to impress people with that fancy word?
The recipe itself makes enough for about 12 people so you might want to halve the recipe if you’re not feeding an army.
Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 6 slices white bread, cut into mini squares
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 1/2 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar
- 2 cups grated gruyere
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 3 quart baking dish.
Boil macaroni following the package directions.
Toss the bread pieces with 2 tablespoons of butter and keep aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk.
Melt the other 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan then add flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture and cook until it becomes thick, while whisking.
Take the pan off the heat. Mix in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere
Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. Spread out the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere, also spread out the breadcrumbs over the top.
Bake until golden brown– about 30 minutes. Be sure to cool it before you serve to allow everything to set. Enjoy!