Friday, October 8, 2010

Recipe Fridays: Baked Mac and Cheese

As temperatures drop and the seasons change, it's time for warm comfort foods. I recently tried my hand at Ina Garten's Mac & Cheese (she's always got great recipes). I made some modifications (took out the tomato and added in bacon and mozzarella cheese). Feel free to experiment!

1 tablespoon salt+enough to salt the water
veggie oil
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 quart milk (aka 4 cups)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
0.6 pounds) Gruyere cheese, grated
0.4 pounds mozarella, grated
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (made from 5 slices white bread, crusts removed and grated)

1. Grate cheeses.
2. Grate bread.
3. Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drizzle veggie oil into the boiling water (a couple tablespoons). Add the macaroni and cook according to package instructions, 6-8 minutes. Drain well.
4. While the noodles boil, begin to heat the milk in a small saucepan...but DO NOT allow it to boil. 5. (I waited for my noodles to drain so I could use the same big pot for this step) In a large pot melt 6 tablespoons of butter along with the flour. Cook over low heat fpr 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk (or spoon if you don't have a whisk).
6. Then whisk in the hot milk and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring/whisking until smooth and slightly thicker.
7. Turn off the heat under large pot.
8. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and the nutmeg.
9. Stir in the grated cheeses.
10. Add in the cooked macaroni and stir well.
11. Pour into a 9x13 (or 3-quart) baking dish.
12. Put the strips of bacon (uncooked!) on top--remember bacon shrinks as it cooks so feel free to use a lot!
13. In a small saucepan (or a microwave-safe bowl) melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss with the bread crumbs to coat evenly.
14. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of the macaroni caserole.
15. Bake for 30-35 minutes (cheese should be bubbly and bacon baked).

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