Recipe


Macaroni & Cheese

Monday, February 27, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese is one of those dishes that can test a marriage in its early days. For instance, my wife, whose taste and intuition about food is so good that I generally ask her advice—and mostly follow it—when faced with an unknown restaurant's menu, was biased against baked macaroni and cheese in favor of the looser, creamier, stove-top variety. (I don't mean the packaged kind—ick—but the real thing, homemade.) I, on the other hand, like most right-thinking people, knew that the real McCoy must come out of the oven, bubbling in a glass baking dish with fresh-made bread crumbs toasting on the top, and is stiff enough to eat with even a primitive fork.

Well, it took years of experimenting, but I found the balance that keeps us both happy. In fact, we both prefer it to anything we grew up with. It has a creamier, cheesier finish than traditional baked, but still has all the hearty richness. One key element is reserving a third of the shredded cheese and folding it in just before baking.

Now, this isn't diet food. The recipe is for “three servings,” but if you can prepare it for two people and let any of it go uneaten you have much better discipline than I do. If you are going to go off-diet to enjoy some mac’n cheese, you may as well enjoy it.

The choice of cheese is of course the high-order term in this equation. We have settled on Cabot white cheddar, available for instance at Costco. But cheddar is a deeply personal choice in a person's life, and I wouldn't presume to advise. Don't suppose, however, that the mustard or cayenne are optional. You'll never taste them as such, but their absence is like leaving the sparkle out of the champagne.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 1/2

slice

bread

4

ounces

large macaroni

6

ounces

cheddar cheese, shredded

1

cup

milk

2

ounces

heavy cream

2

Tbs

butter

1 1/2

Tbs

flour

1/2

tsp

mustard powder

1/4

tsp

cayenne sauce

1

Use a small food processor to create bread crumbs from the bread, spread them on a pan, and brown lightly on the stove or in a toaster oven. Set aside.

2

Boil macaroni until al dente (still quite firm). Drain and toss with 1/2 Tbs of the butter in a bowl. Set aside.

3

Heat the remaining 1 1/2 Tbs of butter until it foams, then add the flour and mustard and make a light roux. Create a bechamel by slowly whisking in the cream and then 2/3 of the milk.

4

Remove from heat and slowly stir in 2/3 of the cheese until smooth. Fold in the macaroni, then the remaining cheese.

5

Turn out into a small buttered baking dish and top with the bread crumbs. Pour remaining 1/3 cup of milk over the top.

6

Bake at 350F until top is lightly browned and sauce is bubbling. Reduce or turn off heat and cover dish to bake a little longer, ensuring it is heated well through. Serve warm.

Servings: 3

Cooking Times

Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Inactive Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/3 of a recipe (7.1 ounces).

Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving

Calories

515.81

Calories From Fat (61%)

315.76

% Daily Value

Total Fat 35.86g

55%

Saturated Fat 22.33g

112%

Cholesterol 112.29mg

37%

Sodium 482.6mg

20%

Potassium 241.89mg

7%

Total Carbohydrates 27.5g

9%

Fiber 0.84g

3%

Sugar 5.3g

 

Protein 20.94g

42%

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