Macaroni Monday

I use this Macaroni Monday feature purely to give into my first love of Mac n Cheese.  The problem is each new recipe becomes my favorite.

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

No substitutions were made.

chick n broccoli macncheese 1

Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

2 c chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli crowns, cut into 3/4 inch florets
1/2 lb cavatappi
1/4 c unsalted butter
3 tblsp all-purpose flour
3/4 c half-and-half, warmed
1/2 c heavy cream, warmed
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon (sub 1 tsp dried)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
5 oz Emmental, grated, divided
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan
4 oz diced cooked chicken or turkey
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 13×9 baking pan. (I used a 9-inch baking dish.)  Have a bowl of ice water handy.

Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil the stock until it is reduced by half.  Set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the broccoli and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove the broccoli from the pot with a strainer and plunge it into the ice water to stop the cooking action.

Bring the water back to a boil.  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 it to the pot.  Drain the broccoli, and add it to the pot with the pasta.

chick n broccoli 4

Heat 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.  Increase the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the reduced stock, warm half-and-half and cream.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce the heat to low, stir in the tarragon and nutmeg, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.

Reserve 1/2 c of the Emmental.  Add the remaining cheese to the sauce by 1/2 cup measures, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition.  Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the chicken and stir well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer the pasta to the prepared pan.  Mix the reserved Emmental and breadcrumbs together, and sprinkle it over the top of the dish.

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

chick n broccoli 5

cartoon-strawberry-9Mac n Cheese with protein AND veggies?  It’s so good.  I served it with some salad on the side, just to add a little crunch.  I’d never heard of or had Emmental cheese before, its a light Swiss cheese.  Thankfully, Trader Joes carries all the cheeses I haven’t heard of and might need.

Macaroni Monday

Thank you Thomas Jefferson for bringing mac n cheese to the colonies.  Did you know President Jefferson served macaroni and cheese at a state dinner in 1802?

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

Substitution made – noted below.

skillet mac n cheese 1

Skillet-Fried Cheddar Mac and Cheese

1/2 lb macaroni
2 tblsp unsalted butter
3 tblsp chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole milk, warmed – I used 2%
2 tblsp heavy cream, warmed
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 oz raw milk Cheddar, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tblsp olive oil

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

Heat the butter saucepan over med-low heat.  Add the onion and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion softens.

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.  Increase the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the warm milk and cream.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce the heat to low, stir in the mustard, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.

skillet mac n cheese 2

Add the cheese to the sauce by 1/2 c measures, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir well.  season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat a skillet over med-high heat until it is very hot.  Add the olive oil, swirling to coat.  Add the macaroni, and allow it to cook for 3 minutes, or until a crust forms.  Scrape the bottom of the crust with a metal spoon, and cook another 3 minutes.  Do not stir often.  Cook until about 15 to 20 percent of the mixture is golden brown.  Serve hot.

Note: The sauce can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.  Bring it to a simmer over low heat.  Cook and fry the pasta just prior to serving.

skillet mac n cheese 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Maybe someday I’ll find my very favorite form of mac n cheese and stop trying new recipes… Probably NOT.  This stuff is amazing.  The Cheddar is mild and silky and melts really well.  Then the bits of fried cheese sauce?  Heavenly.

Macaroni Monday

What better treat to have on a rainy Monday than a saucy, gooey pot of Mac n Cheese?

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

One substitution made, noted below.

sweet onion mac n cheese 1

Sweet Onion Mac & Cheese

1/2 lb orecchiette
1 tblsp olive oil
1 c canola oil, divided
1/2 c (1 stick) unslated butter, divided
1 lrg sweet onion (Vidalia or Maui), diced
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 c whole milk, warmed – I used 2%
2 oz Fontina, grated
3 tblsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 oz sharp white cheddar, grated
1 lrg shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 c rice flour (substitute cornstarch)
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain the pasta, run it under cold water, and return it to the pot.  Toss the pasta with the olive oil.

Heat 1 tblsp of the canola oil and 2 tblsp of the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and toss to coat with the fat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium-high, sprinkle the onion with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.  Puree the onion in a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a blender, and set aside.

Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the flour and cook stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the mixture turns slightly beige, is bubbly and appears to have grown in volume.  Increase the heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the warm milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it thickens.

Add the cheese to the sauce by 1/2 c measures, stirring until the cheese melts before making another addition.  Stir in the onion puree, and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

While the sauce simmers, heat the remaining canola oil in a small saucepan to a temperature of 350 degrees.  Coat the shallot slices with the rice flour, shaking off any excess.  Fry the shallot slices for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove the shallots from the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

To serve, stir the sauce, chives and parsley into the pasta.  Cook over low heat until the pasta is hot and coated with the sauce.  serve immediately, garnishing each serving with some of the fried shallots.

Note:  The sauce can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.  Bring it to a simmer over low heat.  The pasta should not be cooked and the shallots should not be fried until just prior to serving.

sweet onion mac n cheese 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I liked the sweetness the onion added to this sauce.  But I hate using orecchiette pasta, it always clumps together in lines of six or seven pieces of pasta.  And this was enough sauce for a full pound of pasta.  I would use rotini in the future.  And as you can see, I didn’t fry up the shallots.  We were hungry and I didn’t feel like making the mess.  Next time for sure.

ps – Trying photograph all white food?  Super boring.

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!

Macaroni Monday

My sister will swear that the one of the only things I would eat as a child is macaroni and cheese.  (Knowing my mother I don’t totally believe it.)  But dinner from the blue box tastes like growing up and comfort and the days when I was too poor to eat much else.  In the last few years I have tried my hand at a few homemade recipes and have fallen even more deeply in love.

So when I saw this book, it was a MUST have.

Mac and cheese

80 recipes of pasta and cheese?  Sounds like heaven to me.

This is the first recipe I tried; a few small substitutions were made, noted below.

dumac and cheese 2

Dumac & Cheese

1/2 lb radiatore or rotini pasta
1/4 c unsalted butter
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c heavy cream, warmed
1 c whole milk, warmed – I used 2%
4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
4 oz sharp white Cheddar, grated
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
3 tbls plain breadcrumbs – I used Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 13×9 baking pan.  (There is not enough stuff to fit into a 13×9 pan.  If you’re feeding a large crowd, double the recipe.  If not, use a 8 or 9 inch square baker.)  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 it to the pot.  (Be sure to rinse the pot out with cold water also, or the pasta will stick to the pan.)

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

Reserve 3/4 c of both cheeses.  Add the remaining 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 salt and pepper then transfer the pasta to the prepared pan.  Mix the reserved cheeses and breadcrumbs together 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 before serving.

dumac and cheese 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Oh My.  This is some good stuff.  Both husband and I loved it.  I’m only wishing I could’ve eaten more.  1 recipe down and 79 to go…