Entries in macaroni and cheese (1)

Friday
Aug062010

cheesy gift

Our friends just had a baby so we offer to make and deliver a meal to help them out. For years, we've been making Martha's Mac 'n Cheese and giving it to friends with newborns, and it's always been well-received. I believe, hands down, that this is the best mac 'n cheese recipe out there. And trust me, I've tried a lot. It requires a bit more effort and time but it's so, so worth it. Here's a quick pictorial in case you want to see it before you try it.

The mise en place. Not as photo-worthy as Martha's but totally necessary. In a food processor, I like to freshly grate gruyère and extra sharp Tillamook cheddar cheese for the sauce, and parmesan reggiano for the topping.

The roux. A critical step in the success of a good bechamel sauce.

The bechamel sauce. The heart and soul of the dish (with nutmeg, cayenne, salt, pepper):  add hot milk to the roux and stir, stir, stir. Makes all the difference.

Combining the grated cheeses to the bechamel creates this beautiful, thick and creamy sauce.

After adding the half-cooked pasta noodles to the cheese sauce, I divide the mac 'n cheese into two disposable brownie pans (with lids), sprinkle the remaining cheeses over each half, and top them off with a fluffy mixture of the grated parm and homemade breadcrumbs soaked in butter.

I slap some labels on top of the lids and deliver them to our friends - one for dinner tonight and one to freeze for another. All they need to do is bake 'til bubbly and serve.

And because I don't want them to clog their arteries too much - how guilty would I feel? - I toss in a bag of Trader Joe's Spring Salad Mix for an easy, sorta healthy meal.

 

Note: I am by no means a professional chef or even a cooking expert, but I have been making this recipe for over 10 years. I can make this dish in my sleep.