Oh, Mac & Cheese- how you delight me so!
Always there to comfort and warm me
Changing ever so slightly-
Always to satisfy my wishes and desires
You never falter-
Whether made from scratch or out of a box-
I will never tire of you, Mac & Cheese
And will enjoy our love affair
Nay, our journey as fateful soul mates
Forever and ever
Now that I’ve got that out of my system I’ll just say it once more: I LOVE MACARONI AND CHEESE! Everyone who knows me knows I make a mean Mac & Cheese. All the kiddies can tell you- my Kraft Mac & Cheese making abilities are beyond amazing. However, as I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself gastronomically, I wanted to make sure I could make the real deal Mac & Cheese from scratch. I did it- and I did it well!
The Perfect Cheesy, Crunchy, Gooey, Mac & Cheese: Serves 4
adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
2 slices white bread, crusts removed, cubed
1 3/4 cups milk
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2/3 cup (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a casserole or gratin dish and set aside. Place the bread in a bowl. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
2. Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep the mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano); set the sauce aside.
5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni about 2 to 3 minutes until it is underdone. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain. Stir the macaroni into the sauce.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish(es). Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes for an individual serving, 35-40 minutes for a casserole serving. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
There is nothing more to say. Just go, print out this recipe, and indulge in this perfect Mac & Cheese.