Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Best Macaroni and Cheese...EVER


This is Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese. Well, sort of. Her recipe makes enough to feed a small army, so this is the reduced version. It is so good.
Me: Hello?
My Dad: What are you doing?
Me: Making you macaroni and cheese.
My Dad: Thank you! I love you. Bye.
Me: *Laughing* Ok, bye!
The macaroni and cheese is all he wanted. It may be all he wants ever. I dream about it, and as much as I try not to make it once a week - I make it once a week. I have to use up the little piece of whichever cheese is left. Lucky for me, there is always a little piece of one cheese or the other left!
My Mom (trying to be good and eat according to the Atkin's diet): Hi.
Me: Ok, so I know I made macaroni and cheese, but I made you chicken and asparagus and green beans...
My Mom: I have to have at least a little macaroni and cheese!
Me: *Laughing.* Ok!
My mom proceeds to take the biggest scoop of macaroni and cheese that she can with a regular spoon...
Everyone is happy. I usually serve this as the main course, and I serve chicken cutlets cooked "Perfect Chicken" style as the side dish. haha. I have always - well, for as long as I can remember - craved meat daily...which probably has to do with being an all-around medical anomaly.

Here is the recipe card. Again, I do a much better job of explaining everything in the recipe at the end of the post, but it is always fun to see the card.


Step One: Not pictured - Preheat oven to to 375 degrees.

Step Two: Not pictured - Butter a 2 qt. casserole dish.

Step Three: Remove the crusts from three slices of bread. I used whole wheat because that is what we eat at our house. Feed the scraps to the dog throughout the entire cooking process. 


Step Four: Tear the bread into 1/2 in. pieces.

Go to the refrigerator to get butter. Open the refrigerator. Watch an egg fall to the floor. Thank God that the dog is temporarily distracted. Clean and disinfect the affected area. 
Notice that some genius put eggs in the butter box (not me, believe it or not).
Step Five: Put one tablespoon butter into a coffee mug, and microwave until melted.

Step Six: Drizzle the melted butter over the bread pieces, and then toss with your fingers until all pieces are coated.
Step Seven: Stuff the bread pieces into the mug that had butter in it (because I figure the more contact the bread has with the butter, the better... it helps me sleep at night.) 








 This is the extra sharp white cheddar that I use. I find that this recipe uses about 3/4 of this block when grated. Gruyere is in the back. Sometimes I use Gruyere...sometimes Pecorino...I prefer whichever one is on sale.




Here are some pictures of the "set-up." I have all the cheese that will go into the sauce in the plate on the left, the cheese that will go on top in the plate on the right, the spices that will go in the sauce in the little metal measuring cup, and the bread pieces in the mug.






"Set-up" picture #2: The pot in the back has well-salted water for the pasta, the pot in front of it has milk to be warmed, and the pot on the left is for the sauce.








"Set-up" picture #3: The casserole dish that has been buttered, a whisk for the sauce, and the recipe card. Now cooking can begin!
Step Eight: Melt remaining 3T butter in a high sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add flour. 
Cook while whisking for about 1 minute or until it looks like this.
 Step Nine: Add a little bit of the warm milk.
Step Ten: Whisk until incorporated.
Step Eleven: Repeat steps nine and ten...
...until all the milk is incorporated.
Continue cooking, whisking constantly until mixture bubbles and becomes thick. See the bubbles?
You will know that it is thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon like this.
Step Twelve: Remove pan from heat. Add salt, nutmeg, pepper, cayenne, 1 ½ c. cheddar, and ¾ c. Gruyere (or ½ c. Pecorino)...and whisk to incorpoarate. Set aside.
...and whisk to incorpoarate. Set aside.
Step Thirteen: Cook macaroni in well-salted boiling water. Cook until pasta is slightly underdone in the middle. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain well.
Step Fourteen: Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce...
...and stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce.
Step Fifteen: Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
 Step Sixteen: Sprinkle the bread pieces on top...
Step Seventeen: ...and top with remaining cheese.
Step Eighteen: Bake 30 minutes or until it's beautiful like this. Yuuuuuuuummmmmm!

Martha’s Mac & Cheese
Click here for printable version
4 T.  butter, plus a little more
3 slices bread, crusts removed, torn into ½ in pieces
2 ¾ c. milk
½ lb. elbow macaroni
2 ¼ c. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 c. Gruyere, grated or ½c. + 1/8c. Pecorino, grated
¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. coarse salt, plus a little more
1/8 t. black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2 qt. casserole dish.

Place bread pieces in a small bowl. Toss with 1 T melted butter. Set aside.

Warm milk in a saucepan over medium heat.

Melt remaining 3T butter in a high sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add flour. Cook while whisking for about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk a little at a time. Continue cooking, whisking constantly until mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, pepper, cayenne, 1 ½ c. cheddar, and ¾ c. Gruyere (or ½ c. Pecorino); set aside.

Cook macaroni in well-salted boiling water. Cook until pasta is slightly underdone in the middle. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain well.

Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the bread pieces on top, and then top with remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes.
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2 comments:

  1. You are such a delight! You write just like I would say all the things you do! I love your recipes and your blogs! Keep up the great work! Thanks for the perfect chicken b/c I always use herbs de provence on mine and need a change! Much continued success!
    olga

    ReplyDelete

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