Friday, April 3

Baked Mac & Cheese

Ahhh the gloriousness of macaroni and cheese! The nostalgia, the creaminess, the yummy cheesiness... I'd been aspiring to make homemade mac & cheese for a while and made enough of this for my coworkers to quickly inhale the next day. It was really easy and not even that unhealthy since I dubiously substituted cream and whole milk for whole milk and 2% milk and it turned out great. I also learned that the butter and flour whisked mix before the milk is added is called a roux. Cooking vocab word. You're welcome.

Baked Mac & Cheese with Garlic Breadcrumbs
adapted from Gourmet
For bread crumbs:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
For macaroni:
1/4 stick unsalted butter
scant 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup 2% milk
8oz elbow macaroni
16 oz sharp cheddar, grated (or your choice of white, yellow, sharp, extra sharp etc.)
Make bread crumbs: Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook garlic and bread crumbs, stirring, until crumbs are golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.

Cook macaroni according to directions. Drain in a colander and transfer to a 1 1/2 quart shallow casserole. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat, then add flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk* and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. I added a few dashes of ground pepper and garlic powder. To macaroni, stir in white sauce, cheese, and salt to taste. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

*I recommend allowing the milk to reach room temperature before making sauce. I had to stir a lot longer than 3 minutes before it thickened even a little. It should thicken slightly to resemble a sauce.

That's it, my friends, enjoy!

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