Friday, March 21, 2008

#3 Audrey's Deluxe Mac & Cheese with crispy pine nut-herb crust

This one is from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. I was really looking forward to making this because of all of the fresh herbs required. It was a bit disappointing though because the taste was actually pretty bland even though I used extra-old cheddar.

Serves 10

6 cups dry pasta shapes (I used regular elbow mac)
1/4 c olive oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 t salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c chopped oregano
2 T chopped thyme
1/2 c chopped Italian parsley
1/4 c butter
3 1/2 c milk
1/4 c unbleached flour
4 c grated aged white cheddar
4 c fresh breadcrumbs
1 c grated Parmesan
1/2 c pine nuts

1. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until just done. Strain and toss with a light coating of olive oil. Set aside or refrigerate.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in a small skillet and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Add half of the minced garlic, 1/2 t salt and sauté until the garlic turns golden. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in half of the chopped herbs. Set aside.

3. Next, make a roux for the cheese sauce. Gently heat the milk and keep it warm. Set a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle in flour and whisk constantly as teh flour and butter turn golden. Gradually add the warm milk adn 1 t salt and whisk thoroughly. Heat until the sauce thickens (about 10 minutes). Add the sautéed onion/herb mix, grated cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Season to taste.

4. Finally, make the topping. Combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining garlic, herbs, Parmesan, pine nuts, 1/2 t salt, plenty of cracked pepper and the remaining 3 T olive oil. Mix together thoroughly.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. To assemble, combine the noodles and cheese sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Pour into an oiled 9 x 13" baking dish. Scatter topping over the entire surface, working some of it into the noodles. Bake uncovered until golden and bubbly (about 40 minutes). Serve piping hot.

No comments: