Thursday, January 19, 2012

Favorite Homemade Mac & Cheese

Alton Brown's Baked Mac and Cheese
When you find a great Mac and Cheese recipe, you stick with it! I've been using this Alton Brown recipe for a while now. The best part about this recipe is that you can make some modifications and play around with it. For example, I always add ham and the spice turmeric to give it a deeper yellow color and enhance the dish's cancer fighting qualities. Learn about the benefits of turmeric here. I've also tried the recipe with the onions and mostly choose to omit them. I find the flavor to be too overpowering in this dish.

If you've never made a roux before, this recipe was probably my first introduction to it. Just go slow and make sure the heat isn't too high. You'll do just fine!

You can find a link to the recipe here.

But here's the gist of it:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.


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