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Monday, November 1, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese



Sometimes you just want comfort food for dinner; enough for a small army. I’ve tried a few macaroni and cheese recipes. All were delicious, including the blue cheese version (!) but none quite hit the spot like this one. There is a lot of fat in this, no doubt, but you’ll only want a small portion since it’s so heavenly, I mean heavy.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe adapted from Epicurious

1 lb macaroni, preferably whole wheat

Topping:
½ stick unsalted butter
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
¼ lb coarsely grated sharp cheddar
½ cup grated parmesan

Sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 pound coarsely grated extra sharp cheddar
½ cup grated parmesan
Smoked paprika

Grease lasagna pan or 2 2-quart baking dishes

Make the topping: Mix together cheese for topping and panko breadcrumbs in a bowl. Melt butter and pour over mixture. Stir until combined well.

Cook macaroni so that it is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. Drain and set in large bowl.

Make sauce: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour, cooking roux for about 3 minutes, while stirring. Whisk in milk, one cup at a time. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, otherwise the bottom will burn to the pan. When it starts boiling and sauce puffs up, pull off heat and let it simmer down for a few minutes. Pour over drained macaroni. Add cheeses, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste. Keep in mind that smoked paprika is strong, so you don’t need that much. Stir and combine sauce, cheese and macaroni until combined well. Add 1 cup of cooking liquid from macaroni.

Pour macaroni mixture into baking dishes. Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.