Monday, October 26, 2009

#11 Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This recipe is really the mother of all basic macaroni & cheese recipes. I didn't even really need to follow it as I memorized this method years and years ago and it's my go-to when I want something comforting, easy and delicious.

This recipe was found in this months Everyday Food (October 2009).

3 T unsalted butter
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1/3 c all-purpose flour
coarse salt
4 c whole milk
1/8 t cayenne pepper
3/4 lb small shell pasta (I used medium) or elbow macaroni
4 c coarsely grated sharp yellow cheddar (3/4 lb)
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium; add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add flour and 1/2 t salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale and golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and is the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups milk, add 2 more cups milk and cayenne and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly along bottom of pan, until boiling. Simmer gently, stirring occassionally, until sauce thickens and does not feel grainly when small amount is rubbed between two fingers, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain thoroughly and return to pot. Remove sauce from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Quickly whisk in cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir to coat.

Serves 6 not hungry people and 4 hungry.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

#10 Gratineed Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

This recipe is from the Martha Stewart Living October 2004 issue. This was very cheesy and tasty with the addition of fresh thyme. The recipe asked for one pounds of mixed tomatoes but I only used about half a pound of cherry tomatoes. I knew that too many tomatoes would be a turn off for the boys and I was right. They even complained about the ones that made it in though I found them to be very tender, sweet and a good addition to all that cheese.
Serves 6 to 8

7 T unsalted butter, plus more for dish
1 1/4 c small pieces torn baguette or other crusty bread
1 T chopped fresh thyme
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb elbow macaroni or other short, tubular pasta
1 quart milk
5 T all-purpose flour
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
4 c sharp white cheddar (about 1 pound)
1 pound red and yellow tomatoes in all sizes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large or havled if small (cherry, grape or pear)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Melt 2 T butter, and pour over bread in a medium bowl; toss. Add 1 t thyme, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper; toss.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Cook pasta until just beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes (it will not be fully cooked). Drain and rinse.
  3. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until warm. Heating remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet or a pot over medium heat until foaming. Add flour; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in warm milk a little at a time. Cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and thickened , 8 to 10 minutes. Remove milk mixture from heat.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 t pepper, remaining 2 teaspoons thyme, the nutmeg, and cheese to pan; stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Stir pasta and tomatoes into cheese sauce. Pour into buttered dish; sprinkle with bread topping. Bake until bubbling and golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.