Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

It has been pretty slim pickins' around The Parsley Thief lately. I have been caught up in the whirlwind of the Thanksgiving festivities {I hosted 15 at my house & went all out}, having my little sister in town for two weeks from Oregon {with my adorable niece, Sadie}, and trying to get a start on the Christmas season {shopping, ordering holiday cards & hosting a Tree Trimming party at my place this Sunday}. I can't promise that there will be much in the way of cooking posts this month. But, I'll do my best!
Mamalizza has been nagging me to make some mac n' cheese. So, I finally did. I don't really make the homemade variety anymore. The bozos are used to their boxed Annie's & when I put something with breadcrumbs on their plates, they are like, what is this?! If you think your child will be equally picky, you can easily leave them off.
This is an adapted version of a recipe I made quite frequently, back in my Brooklyn years {before children} & it was my favorite hangover special.
It does require more effort than opening a box & blending some powdered cheese. So, I recommend making 2 & freezing one for later {save it for the next hangover}.

Start by grating up some sharp cheddar cheese {12 ounces}. You can speed up this process by using the grater attachment with a food processor. Set aside for now.
{You can also substitute some mild cheddar, or a blend of the two, as a more kid-friendly option}
Boil 1 pound of elbow macaroni {or any small shaped pasta}, in a large pot of salted water, until cooked al dente. Drain, rinse under cold running water & set aside.

Next, make the breadcrumb topping. In the bowl of a food processor, add 4 slices of good white bread {as in a good loaf of Italian, or anything with a crusty texture}. If it's a skinny loaf, add 8 slices.
To the bread, add a 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese & 4 tablespoons of melted butter.

Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Some large chunks in there are even better, for a topping with great texture. To make the cream sauce, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan, over low heat.

Remove the pan from the heat & stir in 4 tablespoons of flour, until smooth. Return to the heat & cook until the mixture begins to bubble. Stir in 2 cups of hot milk. Add half all at once & the rest, slowly.

Stir the mixture constantly, until it begins to boil & thickens {about 4 minutes}. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt & 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper {black pepper is fine too, if you don't have white}.

Combine the pasta, grated cheese & cream sauce in a large mixing bowl, or your used pasta pot.

Transfer to a casserole & top with the breadcrumb mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees, for 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown & the macaroni is bubbling.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Adapted from The Settlement Cookbook
Serves 8

1 pound elbow macaroni {or any small pasta}
1 stick butter {divided}
4 slices good white bread {cubed}
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese {grated}

Begin by making the breadcrumb topping. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Pulse the white bread, Parmesan cheese & the melted butter in the bowl of a food processor until coarsely ground.
Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water, according to the package instructions, or until cooked al dente.
To make the cream sauce, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan, over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat & stir in the flour, until smooth. Return to the heat & cook, on low, until the mixture begins to bubble. Pour in about half of the hot milk all at once, stirring constantly. Then pour in the rest of the milk slowly, stirring until the mixture comes to a boil & begins to thicken {about 4 minutes}.
Combine the cream sauce, drained macaroni & grated cheddar cheese in a large mixing bowl {or your used pasta pot}. Transfer to a casserole pan & top with the breadcrumb mixture. Cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown & macaroni is bubbling.

Click here for the printable recipe.


mamalizza said...

yey! nagging does work! can't wait to try it out:)

muchas gracias to the thief of parsley!

Jennifer said...

The last time I was hungover, I craved mac and cheese, something fierce. It was the only cure. I will have to give this recipe a try and follow your "freeze for later" tip. TY

Unknown said...

That looks so yummy with the bread topping! Delicious!

Tabel20 said...

nice I love macaroni with cheese love it...Nice article. Thanks :)

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Yummy. I've never tried baked mac & cheese but this one looks pretty killer.

Melissa said...

Once again, your photos have just the right color and sharpness that make me want to dive right in. I can just imagine the crunch and the richness.

I have yet to make my own mac n cheese because I have to convince the husband of its greatness. I'll hang on to your recipe!

Anonymous said...

a mixture of cheddar and grueyere cheese is the best. And instead of parmesean cheese in the topping, more cheddar makes the whole thing amazing. Also, add some nutmeg, quarter tsp of red pepper flakes and a tsp of mustard(grep poupon) to the cheese sauce for adults.

connectonlineshop said...

wow love it....thanks for the post

shopinsummer said...

nice detailed....thanks for the post

perfumeinside said...

sound great..I will taste it and get back on the fourm..but iam sure i would be cool

A & W said...

Wowww I'm just catching up on my Google Reader and this is for sure being saved. YUM! Perfect warm dish for a cold day!

Sweden study said...


Restaurang said...

wow its awesome...looks cool

Resa said...

looking cool

Nasir said...

like this blog with good explainations.....keep posting

Anonymous said...

Made this last night along with your fattoush salad and my partner and I agreed it's the best mac and cheese we've ever had!

Anonymous said...

do you have baking temp/time suggestion for the mac & cheese after freezing?

katie said...

Anonymous~I would say 350 for about 20-30 minutes. Cover with foil, until the last 5 minutes, or brown up the topping.

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