You may recall that I made macaroni and cheese last fall for John’s birthday supper, but it had hot dogs in it (making it technically “Mac & Dogs”…and also “no, thank you”) and I didn’t take any photos of the finished result.
I recently made it again (this time sans dogs) and used a few new cheeses. The result was just what I like in a macaroni and cheese…elbow noodles, tons of cheese, and a crunchy topping in the form of buttery, torn bread.
For my cheddar cheeses this time around, I used a combination of Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar and Trader Joe’s English Cheddar with Caramelized Onion. The former is perfectly sharp and the latter is like butter, so naturally, they made for great additions to the always stellar gruyère.
I have been experimenting more with night-time flash-free photos, since that is when I do a lot of my cooking. These are examples. They don’t look great, but I think we can all agree nothing is worse than a full flash.
I need to take a photography class. I also need to stop saying this and actually do it.
Regardless of the photos, this macaroni and cheese recipe (never, ever call it “mac and cheese” in my presence) is well worth repeating.
Would you like to see how it looks with hot dogs? Would you like to learn more about the origins of macaroni and cheese in America, and how Thomas Jefferson is involved? Check out my original post on the subject.
There will be a quiz.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Martha Stewart
6 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
8 Tbsps. (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated gruyère
1 pound elbow macaroni
- Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside.
- Place torn bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
- In a medium saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Do not let it boil.
- While the milk is warming, place the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Whisk butter and flour together for 1 minute.
- Slowly pour hot milk into butter-flour mixture. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups gruyère. Set cheese sauce aside.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. When water is boiling add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
- Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup gruyère; scatter breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.
- Try not to eat the whole thing.