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.
Adapted by Smitten Kitchen from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
Goes well with steamed or fresh vegetables
- 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)
- Preheat oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C). Butter 3-quart (9x13 inch) casserole dish.
- 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.
- Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce then pour it into the casserole dish.
- Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining cheese and then top it with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- Let the Pasta cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Happy Birthday to me! :)
I got carrot cake! Yummmmmm