Thursday, October 6, 2016

martha's mac and cheese.

I tried to start this blog post a million different ways but at the end of the day all I have to say is that this is the absolute best mac and cheese around.   With October kicking off as the month of gloom comfort food is all I want to eat.  (I'm looking at you soup, cheesy pastas, and apple crisp. )

If you scour the web, a lot of people have waxed poetic justice for this particular recipe for cheesy pasta.  I didn't need to add my name to the list, but I'm going to but it's just that insanely good.   Yes it requires you making a bechamel and buying two types of cheese but the resulting dish is the definition of comfort food.   Incredibly rich and impossibly creamy whoever you make this for will be begging for you to make it again and again.  

Martha's Mac and Cheese
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Here are my notes.  This makes an INSANE amount of mac and cheese.  Unless I'm hosting a party, I always half the recipe.   I also find in the original recipe that the ratio of sauce to pasta is high so I upped it by 1/2 a pound.  In addition I've added in some extra flavorings (hot sauce and dry mustard) because that's how Mom made it growing up.   

Serves 12 (or even 14)

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs   
6 tablespoons (unsalted) butter, plus more for dish
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 
5 dashes of hot sauce
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
1 1/2 pounds elbow macaroni

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, dry mustard, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and 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. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter Panko breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

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