Friday, October 2, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

I had a Bridget Jones-esque evening last night.
I turned thirty-one last Sunday (Happy Birthday to me!) and to celebrate, I had friends over and cooked for them. I hadn't done that in awhile due to busy-ness and may be, slightly, just a little bit of laziness. I had so much fun, though. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to cook for friends. Especially when they complement your cooking. If only I had two beautiful men fighting over me in a fancy restaurant in the middle of a bar mitzvah, that would have made the evening 'complete.'

I needed a recipe that is a classic that is bound to be well-recieved by any, a recipe that cannot go wrong. So I made mac-and-cheese from Martha - a recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen. I think I'm a clever person just for picking this recipe. :) I had never had bread crumb-ed mac-and-cheese so I was a little apprehensive about adding the bread crumbs and almost skipped this step. But I am so so glad that I didn't. The crunchy-ness of the bread crumbs was total awesome-ness. I also used cheddar cheese only. I seriously could not find the Gruyere or Pecorino Romano at the supermarket. I don't know if I was supposed to go to a fancy-butt cheese store where people drink their tea with raised pinkies. But the pasta was still absolutely delicious.

I made 12 servings for 7 people. We did very well with that.
I served it with fresh garden salad and bread rolls. :)
This will definitely go into my permanent recipe box.

Mmmmm....Cheese fat...

Adapted by Smitten Kitchen from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

Goes well with steamed or fresh vegetables
Serves 12
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, plus more for the casserole dish
  • 6 slices of white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 5 1/2 C milk (I used whole)
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp coarse salt, plus more for the pasta boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 C (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 C (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 C (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (I used spiral pasta)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C). Butter 3-quart (9x13 inch) casserole dish.
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (or you can use the microwave to melt the butter). Pour melted butter over the bread crumbs. Toss and set aside.
  3. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  4. In a separate (bigger) saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, stir in the flour. Cook for about 1 minute.
  5. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk into the butter mixture, a little bit at a time to keep the mixture smooth. Whisking constantly, cook until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. This will take about 8-12 minutes.
  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper and 3 cups of cheddar and 1 1/2 C gruyere (or 1 C Pecorino Romano). Set cheese sauce aside.
  7. Cover a large pot of salted water, bring to boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of the pasta is cooked but the inside is underdone, about 2-3 minutes. (I cooked a little more than that.) Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold running water. Drain well.
  8. Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce then pour it into the casserole dish.
  9. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining cheese and then top it with the breadcrumbs.
  10. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  11. Let the Pasta cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Happy Birthday to me! :)
I got carrot cake! Yummmmmm


  1. Happy belated birthday. I think this macaroni and cheese looks and sounds amazing. I am sure I would love the bread crumb topping too.

  2. Thanks for the birthday wish, Pam. Yeah, I highly recommend this mac-and-cheese recipe.