Friday, January 21, 2011

Martha's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

The search for a really good macaroni and cheese recipe ends here. I grew up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese out of a box and it is the macaroni and cheese that I LOVE! But all that bright orange nonsense just does not sit well with me now that I'm the mama. Finding a macaroni and cheese recipe that I like just as much, if not even better, than the boxed stuff has been difficult. I should have known to start with Martha Stewart. This recipe takes a few steps, but it is worth every single one!

According to the directions I found, this recipe makes a huge batch of mac and cheese and that it serves 12. So I halved it. BIG MISTAKE. I was feeding three adults and two kids and it was not nearly enough. So DO NOT halve this unless you are cooking for one (maybe two).

I bought Gruyere at Whole Foods, but I also saw it at Sam's Club. Whole Foods was a tad more expensive per pound, but I could get exactly the amount I needed rather than a huge block at Sam's.

I find it convenient to prep and bake in a Dutch oven, but if you don't have one, just transfer the mixture to a 3 quart casserole dish before baking. I'm really sorry I forgot to take pictures! I was just too excited to EAT!

Martha's Baked Macaroni and Cheese
8 Tablespoons butter
6 slices of bread, torn in to 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 1/2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
1 pound small pasta

Cook pasta in salted water until just underdone. Strain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Pour melted butter in a bowl with bread and toss to coat. Set aside.

Put saucepan back on medium heat and warm milk. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 6 Tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in warmed milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Keep whisking and cooking until mixture bubbles and thickens, about 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in salt, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese and 1 1/2 cup Gruyere. Stir in pasta. Top with remaining cheeses and bread crumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned.

Original recipe found at Smitten Kitchen (I only altered the method).

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