Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I saved my third and final post of the night to tell you that I have found it people! The recipe I have been searching for for years! The mac 'n cheese that has won my heart (and my stomach). I have tried version upon version for this beloved classic but never found one that I wanted to claim for myself. But THIS IS IT!!!! So perfect in every way. Creamy, yet not too squidgey. (Yes, that's a word) Baked with a golden crust and full of flavor. Oh my word, spoon me up a dish and I'll be happy forever. I found the original recipe here, and surprisingly enough, was able to actually follow it to a T. That NEVER happens.
Well maybe I spoke too soon. I just remembered that I did add extra cheese. But I always do that. I like my Mac to be super cheesy. One thing that I wouldn't do next time is add the Parmesan on the top. I didn't really like the crust it made and ended up picking it off and throwing it in the garbage. But what was underneath the parm was the delicious panko breadcrumbs, which just rocked my world. I would also like to mention that I will not eat my Mac on a plate. I took a picture of it on a plate for you, dear reader, but always have to have mine in a bowl. You can bet that I slid it off that plate and into my beloved dish and ate it with a spoon. No forks for Mac. Please don't even try to hand one to me. It has to be a spoon.
Macaroni and Cheese
16 oz. elbow pasta
5 Tbs. + 3 Tbs. of butter (1 stick total)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 C. flour
5 C. milk
4 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 - 1 C. panko bread crumbs
1/2 C. grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta according to directions to the longest recommended time for the softest pasta. Meanwhile, melt the 5 Tbs. of butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Cook onions until soft (about 4 minutes). Add flour and cook for about 4 more minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium high and cook for a few minutes until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Turn off heat, add cheese and mix well. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and incorporate well. Add ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer mac and cheese to a large casserole dish or keep in a dutch oven. Melt the 3 Tbs. of butter and mix with panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle buttered panko and parmesan cheese on top and bake for 25-30 until bubbly and brown on top. (If using a tall dutch oven, you may have to broil for a few minutes to brown the breadcrumbs.)