Macaroni and Cheese

macandcheeseSince I’m on a from scratch kick, this seems like a good time to talk about macaroni and cheese. While I’m a big fan Rotel dip and bowling alley nachos, I have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to processed cheese. And I draw the line at powdered cheese. Why? Because it doesn’t taste good. If something is going to have little nutritional value, it better taste pretty darn good.

Now, I’m not kidding myself, I know that homemade mac and cheese isn’t the most well-balanced meal a person can eat. Sure it’s high in fat and sodium, but it’s also high in protein and calcium. You win some, you lose some. The least you can do is have a meal you enjoy.

I started tinkering around with homemade mac and cheese after I ate at Montage in Portland (OR) with my sister. Their Spold Mac (blend of Spicy Mac and Old Mac) was the first mac and cheese I ever liked. Living so far away from the restaurant in question, I had to try to replicate the dish. I’ve been miserably unsuccessful so far, but it did lead to many other delicious mac and cheese dishes.

My favorite recipe so far is Cheesemonger’s Mac and Cheese from Gourmet. Glenn and I made a version of it the other night that we dubbed Suicide Mac and Cheese. The recipe is below and the picture is above.

Cheesemonger’s Mac and Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Brie
  • 5 Tb butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • Melt 1 Tb butter in a small pan. Stir in breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown.
  • Boil pasta according to package directions and drain.
  • Melt 4 Tb butter in a pan. Add flour and stir until brown. Add thyme and nutmeg. Whisk in milk and simmer until thick and smooth.
  • Combine all cheeses. Reserve 1 cup for topping and add the rest to the milk mixture. Stir until melted. Add pasta to cheese sauce.
  • Divide pasta into eight 1 1/4 cup custard cups. Top with reserved cheese and breadcrumbs. (You can bake this in a large casserole instead.)
  • Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
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4 thoughts on “Macaroni and Cheese

  1. My problem with making mac n cheese at home is that it sometimes has a grainy texture to the sauce. I just read last night that this is caused by the cheese being heated beyond 155 degrees. I don’t think I’ll be measuring the temp of my sauce next time, but I will be cautious to keep it as cool as I can and still melt.

    • Generally I think the graininess comes in the gravy-making stage. It seems to me that it gets grainy when the milk is stirred into the roux too quickly and the roux is not properly dissolved in the liquid. But then I’m not sure.

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