Macaroni Monday

My friend Leslie was visiting a few weeks ago and she is a lover of all things cheese.  I knew I wanted to try another Mac & Cheese recipe while she was here.

This recipe is from Mac & Cheese – 80 Classic & Creative Versions of the Ultimate Comfort Food.

Substitutions made, noted below.

herbed mac 1

Herbed Mac and Cheese

1/2 lb. penne – I used rotini
4 oz Brie
3 oz Gruyere, grated
3 oz sharp white Cheddar, grated – I only had 2.5oz, so I used extra Gruyere
1/4 c unsalted butter, divided
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (sub 1/4 tps dried)
1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage (sub 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (sub a pinch dried)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg – I used dried
2 c whole milk, warmed – I used 2% milk
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 c plain breadcrumbs – I used panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking pan. – I used an 8 inch baking dish, there was not enough to fill a 13×9.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Cook the pasta until it is just beginning to soften to the al dente stage.  Drain the pasta, run it under cold water, and return to the pot.

Scrape the white rind off the Brie, and chop it finely.  Combine the Brie with the Gruyere and Cheddar and set aside 1/2 c of the cheese mixture.

Heat 2 tblsp of the butter in a saucepan over med-low heat.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until the mixture turns slightly beige, is bubbly and appears to have grown in volume.  Stir in the rosemary, sage, thyme and nutmeg.  Increase the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.

herbed mac 2

Add the cheese to the sauce by 1/2 c measures, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir well.  Season to taste with the salt and pepper, and transfer to the prepared pan.

Heat the remaining butter in a small skillet over med heat.  Add the breadcrumb and cook for 2 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown.  Combine the browned crumbs with the remaining cheese mixture, and sprinkle it over the top of the dish.

Bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese sauce is bubbly and the crumbs on the top are deep brown.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then serve.

herbed mac 3

cartoon-strawberry-9 This was so good stuff.  I wanted the herbs to be a bit stronger, and I think they may have been if I had used fresh.  I’m already looking forward to the next Macaroni Monday!

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