Sunday, October 17, 2010

Molly's Macaroni & Cheese

Cheesy deliciousness 
Generally, my hubby is a very adventurous eater. However, he is a big kid at heart and some of his favorite foods come straight off the kid's menu - chicken fingers, pasta with parmesan, pepperoni pizza, etc. etc.  He has a huge anatomy test on Friday, and has spent this entire gorgeous fall day at the school library studying even when he'd much rather be on the golf course.  So, to surprise him and to fill his tummy with some comfort & love, I decided to make him Macaroni and Cheese (albeit, a more grown up version), which he adores. Side note, when studying anatomy for hours on end, a dish with meat isn't always the most appetizing, another plus for mac & cheese! Here's the recipe.

  • 1 smallish red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 4 cups milk
  • 6 parsley stems (leafy part removed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 6 shakes of hot sauce (I like Frank's red hot)
  • S&P
  • 4 T, plus 2 T, plus 2 T Butter
  • 4 T Flour
  • 4 T bread crumbs (I like Panko style the best)
  • 3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup Shredded Medium Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, parsley stems, bay leaf, and some black pepper.  Turn to medium high heat and bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer until ready to use.
Milk Mixture

While the milk is simmering, in a small skillet, sauté the onion in 2 T butter  and some S&P over medium low heat for 10 minutes.  Turn the temperature to low, and add the minced garlic to the onions.  Continue to cook until the onions are caramelized and reduced, approximately another ten minutes.

Caramelized Onions & Garlic
Now you're ready to make your roux.  A roux (pronounced 'roo') is a cooked mixture of flour and butter.  It is a thickening agent used to make sauces, as well as thicken gravy, soups, and stews.  Roux is something you might not get right on the first try - but that's okay!  Start off with just a little bit of flour and butter, and if it doesn't work out, you're not facing a major loss. New to this blog - I have added a movie along with some pictures to explain just how this works.  Click here to learn how to make a roux, and watch the first part of the movie.  For this roux, use 4 T butter and 4 T flour.

Once your roux is cooked, it's time to make it into a béchamel sauce.  Oh no!  Another fancy cooking term and complicated process!!  Well, not really.  Same as roux, once you've made one béchamel sauce, you'll find that it really isn't too tricky, and it is such a wonderful sauce to have in your repertoire as there are so many things you can do with it!  I also did a video on making a béchamel.  Click here to learn how to make it, and watch the end part of the movie. For this béchamel, use the seasoned milk mixture from above with the bay leaf and parsley stems removed, and add to the roux you just made.
Cheesy Sauce!

In a pasta pot, bring water to a boil and start to cook your macaroni noodles.

Once the béchamel is made, it's time to season it up.  First, turn the temperature to low/medium-low. Add the nutmeg, dried mustard, cayenne, hot sauce, and some more S&P. Stir well. Now add the caramelized onion/garlic, roasted red pepper, and all of the cheese.  Stir well and let it cook until the cheese is completely melted.

Ready to bake
When the macaroni noodles are cooked, drain them well and then add them back into the pot.  Pour your cheese mixture over the top, and mix well.  Grease a large glass baking dish, and pour the mac & cheese into the dish.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, take the last 2 T of butter and melt it.  Remove from heat, and add the breadcrumbs and toss until they are all evenly coated.  Take this crumb topping and sprinkle over the top of your mac & cheese. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the mac & cheese is bubbling, approximately 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes or so.   The hubby and I like our mac & cheese with a squirt of ketchup on the side.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine just let me know that she made this and added some sliced jalapeños. Sounds delish and a great way to kick it up a notch!!