TGIF friends! Here in the Northeast we are experiencing a warm and rainy day only to be followed by freezing temperatures soon. Enter comfort food! I want to share a new macaroni and cheese recipe that a friend of mine discovered. It is delicious!
I admit I am not naturally a good cook. I need a recipe for practically everything I make except a sandwich. So when I taste a great dish I ask for the recipe or else search for it online. I consider it a great compliment when someone asks me for one of my recipes and I happily give it to them. Doesn’t everyone?
Last year we went to a nice catered party and they had this delicious macaroni and cheese dish. It was super creamy and frankly it tasted better than mine so I asked for the recipe. The caterer replied that he didn’t share his recipes but he could tell me the secret. (Yay! I thought.) It’s “heavy cream, several cheeses and pasta.” Hmmmm. Even I could have figured that out.
So, it sort of bugged me. Why wouldn’t he share his recipe? It’s not like A) He invented macaroni and cheese or B) I was going to open a catering business and compete with him for his mac n’ cheese. So, a friend of mine, who is also a lover of macaroni and cheese started researching and found this recipe. Which, kindly she gladly shared with me. (Thank you, Helen!)
At Christmas we made the new Mac and Cheese recipe and it was amazing! We made one slight modification and added a Panko and butter mix to the top before baking. It added just the right amount of crunch. Long story, short, here’s the recipe. (The Panko topping is optional.)
SMOKED GOUDA MAC AND CHEESE (via Epicurious)
*1 lb package short pasta (elbow macaroni, or penne)
*4 tablespoons butter
*4 tablespoons all purpose flour
*4 cups milk
*½ teaspoon salt
*½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
*½ teaspoon paprika
*8 ounce block sharp white cheddar cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)
*8 ounce block smoked gouda cheese, grated, and divided (about 2 cups)
*1 cup Panko Japanese bread crumbs (Optional for topping)
*3 Tablespoons butter (also optional to go with Panko topping)
**Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1-Cook pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.
2-Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Continue whisking and adding flour for about 2 minutes.
3-Gradually add in milk, whisking constantly. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened.
4-Reduce heat to low and stir in salt, pepper and most of the cheese. Reserve about 1 cup of cheese.
5-Pour the pasta in a lightly greased 8x11x2″ baking dish.
6-Spoon the cheese sauce over the pasta, stirring lightly to even out the sauce in the pan.
7-Add the remaining cheese on top and sprinkle with paprika.
NOTE: At this point you can bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bubbly. OR, if you want to add the topping….
8-Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan then add one cup Panko bread crumbs and gently stir until slightly browned. Sprinkle on top of cheeses and paprika and bake accordingly.
As the recipe states, “Prepare yourself for an out-of-this world macaroni and cheese!”
In my excitement over the new recipe and the fact we had a house full of company I failed to take a picture of this macaroni masterpiece. So, these photos are courtesy of THE Martha Stewart. She probably makes her own cheese but out of curiosity I checked to see which cheeses she does use. In addition to the white sharp cheddar she adds grated Gruyere and Romano to her recipe. Maybe I’ll try hers next!
Another side note courtesy of Martha, she adds that President Thomas Jefferson was also a fan of macaroni and cheese and served this baked delicacy at his dinner parties “all of the time”. Interesting!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Stay warm and dry and have a great weekend! xoxo Dell