Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Recipe of the Week

This is certainly a comfort food for me and Kraft can't beat this homemade version. If you're looking for a healthy meal run away because this is not it. But ooooh, it's so yummy.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese


It's crucial to cook the pasta until tender--just past the "al dente" stage. In fact, overcooking is better than undercooking the pasta. Whole, low-fat, and skim milk all work well in this recipe. The recipe can be halved and baked in an 8-inch-square, broilersafe baking dish.

INGREDIENTS

Bread Crumb Topping
6 slices white sandwich bread (good-quality, about 6 ounces), torn into rough pieces
3 tablespoons butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces

Pasta and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni, or any pasta
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
5 cups milk (see note)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (2 cups)


8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

or use any combination of cheeses

4 slices bacon, fried and drained, broken up

chopped tomato
1 teaspoon salt
1. For the bread crumbs: Use any oldish bread you have on hand. I used Costco's Parmesan cheese bagels. Break them up and chop them in a food processor.

For the pasta and cheese:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander. Now fry bacon. Once it is cooked, set aside. Then in now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne (if using), Worcestershire sauce and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes. Add bacon crumbles. Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9-by 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve. Garnish with fresh chopped tomato and dried or fresh basil. It adds a nice fresh flavor.

Recipe adapted from Cooksillustrated Classic Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
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