Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mac n' Cheese

Change on 9/12/10- Gluten Free notes at the bottom of this post.

So, I'm falling into this world of blogging. Perhaps I'm using it as an outlet to write since I don't have that option as much anymore after being out of school. Who knows! Nonetheless, I'm excited about sharing one of my favorite hobbies; cooking!

Henry is enjoying my hobby, needless to say :) If you know him, you know that grin he gets when he's excited about something. Each night I cook something new, I get to see that grin. It's a positive reinforcement for me to keep at it!

I'll post more on things that I've already made in the last few months, but my first post is on something I NEVER thought I'd make again; Macaroni and Cheese. Growing up, I ate this a lot, so it was natural for me to eat it when I went to college! Lucky for me (heavy sarcasm) KRAFT came out with Easy Mac the year I entered college. I can also thank KRAFT for quickly averting me to Mac n' Cheese. When you eat something SO much in such a short time, you don't ever want to see it again!

Well, last night was the first time I had eaten macaroni and cheese since that year. However, this time I made it FOR REAL! Henry and I watched this Mac n' Cheese food challenge on Food Network the other day, and I decided that there is definitely more ways to eat this dish than Kraft's way. I found a recipe on FoodNetwork.com and decided to go after it. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_32868,00.html


Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

This is SO good! Henry and I both loved it. The tomato can be a little overwhelming since there is so much dairy in this recipe, but it's not bad. I got to use one of my new Pampered Chef stoneware pieces that I hadn't used yet, so it was great! And, for those that are curious, yes it's taking more than one dishwashing load to clean all the dishes I used...

Make it Gluten-Free!
-Use gluten free pasta.
-Use gluten free all-purpose flour.
-Use gluten-free tortilla crumbs.

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