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Friday, January 11

Cheesy

I have always preferred homemade foods over prepared items, but one of our fallbacks has always been Mac and Cheese. You know, the blue box? And forget Easy Mac, that just doesn't do it for me. And while I enjoy eating "foo foo" Mac and Cheese at places like McMenamins or Bistro Montage, I have never been able to quite nail down a recipe for a homemade variety that everyone likes.

Until now.

And the best part is it's really easy! The recipe is based on a bechamel sauce I found in my Get Saucy cookbook. I played with it to include the added bonus of a good combination of cheeses that results in the right flavor and consistency.



Insanely Cheesy Mac and Cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cans evaporated milk (can be fat-free), topped up with enough milk (skim is OK) to make 4 cups total
salt & pepper
nutmeg
cardamom
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 T Holland parrano cheese (or similar, like Gouda)
2 heaping spoonfuls Ricotta cheese (can be lowfat)
1 lb pasta

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare pasta to slightly al dente according to package directions. Rinse with cool water after draining.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until foamy, 2 to 3 minutes. All at once, add the milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom.

Add cheeses in the following order, making sure to whisk well and give enough time for cheese to melt and combine with the sauce completely before adding the next:
1/3 cup cheddar
1 spoonful of ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan
1 spoonful of ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan
1/3 cup cheddar
2 T Holland parrano

(Note, the order doesn't have to be exact, but it gives you a chance to taste as you add the cheeses and adjust the amounts according to your taste.)

Add more salt & pepper to taste if desired.

Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat. Pour into large baking dish. Bake 10 minutes. Sprinkle top with additional parmesan if desired and place under broiler for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

When reheating, add 1-2 T milk to dish and stir well.

2 comments:

Keely said...

1. Mmmm: McMenamins. I've prob said this before, but we honeymooned at The Kennedy School for a few days and LOVED it.
2. I'm with you on the Easy Mac. Daniel brought some home when I was sick and I couldn't eat it. He had to make me the original stuff.
3. I MUST try this recipe. OMG, yum! :)

Live on the Fly said...

Nummy! This belongs on www.pastarocks.com!