Sunday, May 2, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

I love mac and cheese. But, specific mac and cheese. It's got to be creamy, and the macaroni has to be not mushy. Both of those are deal breakers for me. I guess I'm picky when it comes to my mac and cheese. Most of the times I have gotten it in a restaurant, I didn't like it. Now, I do live in the Pacific Northwest, and when I get mac and cheese in a restaurant, it usually is at a buffet.

This recipe started as one I watched in Barefoot Contessa. Now, unlike Ina, I hate blue cheese. And, I'm not going to be using white cheddar until my beloved Tillamook starts making it. But, I loved the noodles she used - they are so fun! Cavatappi - it even sounds cooler than elbow macaroni. And, if you are near, it can be purchased at Fred Meyer.

Anyway, the mac and cheese was a great hit - for the most part. I put langostino's in Brian's, and he didn't care for the texture - but hey! Poor man's lobster mac and cheese appealed to me, and it was really good.

I used a combination of cheddar and gruyere cheese in this, and it was great! I also started with a basic bechamel, and didn't add eggs. Remember bechamel? We made it when we made Fettucini Alfredo!

Mac and Cheese

1 pound macaroni, or cavatappi - cooked in salted water until about 1/2 done

1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1 T. salt
1/4 to 1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground mustard
1 t. white pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 c. sour cream
8 oz. gruyere, shredded
4 cups cheddar (I used an equal mixture of tillamook sharp and medium)
1 1/2 cups panko
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 c. shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In a saucepan, heat the 1/3 c. butter over medium until melted. Add the flour, and stir for 2 minutes until very bubbly and a very light brown. Add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, mustard, cayenne, and sour cream. Add the gruyere and cheddar slowly, and mix until incorporated after each addition.

Pour over macaroni and mix well. Place in a greased baking dish - I used a 13x9x2 pan.

In a small bowl, mix panko, melted butter, and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350, 30-45 minutes until top is golden brown.

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