Monday, January 02, 2006
Mac & Cheese
mixing the cheese sauce. really tricky. stir constantly or else you'll get burnt cheese bits at the bottom
Most people might scream and run at the sight of cheese, with the thought of the amount of fat content it has. But hey, a little fat won't kill ya will it? I love cheese and I decided to bake Macaroni and Cheese for the NYE potluck at Claire's place. I've made mac and cheese a couple of times before but this time, I wanted to try out a differerent recipe so I checked out Epicurious.
Lo and behold, after a few hours on the afternoon of NYE, and with the help of Francis, I made this mac & cheese. It's pretty easy to make actually. The cheese wasn't too overpowering; and oh I omitted the pepper, mustard and spicy stuff because I wasn't sure if the crowd would like it. And I used normal cheddar.
pouring the sauce over the macaroni
after sprinking the topping, ready to go into the oven
a close-up shot of the baked mac and cheese. yummy!
Now I know why the recipe mentioned increasing the crunchy topping. It's super yummy! The crust is the best part. Do try it... :)
MACARONI AND CHEESE
For those who prefer macaroni and cheese with a greater ratio of crunchy topping to creamy center, we suggest dividing the macaroni and cheese between two 3-quart shallow baking dishes and doubling the topping recipe, dividing it between the baking dishes.
3/4 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups panko* (Japanese bread crumbs) or coarse dry bread crumbs
1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 4 ounces)
For cheese sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2 3/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cups heavy cream
4 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. and butter a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Fill a 6-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for macaroni.
Make topping: Melt butter and in a bowl stir together with panko or regular bread crumbs and Cheddar until combined well. Topping may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Make sauce: In a 5-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and stir in flour and red pepper flakes. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes and whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cream, Cheddar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Remove pan from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.
Cook macaroni in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in colander. In a large bowl stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce. Transfer mixture to baking dish.
Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
*Available at Asian markets and some specialty food shops and supermarkets and by mail order from Uwajimaya, (800) 889-1928.
Makes 6 (main course) servings.