Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fancy Schmancy Mac-N-Cheese


8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish (1 stick)
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces ((good quality))
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
4-1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 oz.)
2 cups grated Gruyere (about 8 oz.)
grated pecorino romano cheese (about 5 oz.)
1 lb elbow macaroni


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter.
4. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss; set the bread crumbs aside.
5. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk.
6 .Melt remaining 6 Tbsp. butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour.
7. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. While whisking, slowly our in hot milk.
8. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
9. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cup cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil.
10. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 min. less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
11. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. Pour mixture into prepared dish.
12. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and bread crumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, 30-60 minutes.
13. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 min.; serve.

Recipe compliments of the amazing April.

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