southern veg plate staple {mac & cheese}

mac and cheesethe basics
the recipe

RKG Original Small MonogramMacaroni and Cheese
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Total time: about 55 minutes, give or take a few

{expect my take, sans eggs, to be creamy as opposed to its custard-based counterpart}

1 (16-oz.) package cavatappi pasta (it’s also sold as corkscrew & cellentani pasta)
1 (8-oz.) block extra sharp white Cheddar
1 cup (4-oz.) Gouda
1 cup (4-oz.) Gruyère
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pasta according to package directions in a Dutch oven. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Meanwhile, shred the cheeses using a box grater {or a microplane grater for the Parmesan}. Toss cheeses together to blend. I use the dish it will bake in for this. Set aside 1 cup of cheese for the top.

In the same Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat and gradually whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and next 4 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and bubbles… you just made a béchamel {or white sauce}. Stir in the cheeses, turn off the heat, and whisk until melted and smooth… you just transformed it into a Mornay sauce. I find that a heavy-duty, restaurant quality whisk works well for this task.

Stir pasta into cheese mixture until well blended. Spray the 13 x 9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour pasta mixture into the dish and top with the reserved 1 cup cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbling vigorously and begins to thicken. The top should be golden brown.

{by all means, dig in right away}

good to know

  • creamy mac and cheeseA béchamel is one of the mother sauces to which a myriad of ingredients can be added. The cheeses, specifically the Gruyère & Parmesan, transform this basic white sauce into a Mornay
  • Expect the Macaroni and Cheese to thicken as it stands and it’s equally delicious when you go back for seconds…and thirds. The image to the right was taken immediately after I removed it from the oven– it was still bubbling. The main image in the post was taken about 25 minutes later
  • Let’s talk about dish sizes as this has always been a nuisance when testing recipes for the home cook. There are no regulations regarding pan and dish sizes and one day, I will head to DC and plead my case to change that. However until then, we’ll discuss it recipe by recipe. My oval casserole dish measured 13 x 9-inches with a 3-quart capacity but it’s a tad deeper than a traditional glass rectangle of the same size
    • If using a traditional rectangular dish, either bake the same amount of time for a crisper cheese top
    • Pull it out of the oven about 5 minutes early. I would bake this on a half-sheet pan lined with foil to catch any drips just in case it bubbles over a little
    • Half-sheet pans are the bee’s knees. Look for them at restaurant supply stores or Williams-Sonoma
  • Oh, and to get a quart or cup-size on a dish or ramekin, a measuring cup filled with water will do the trick. Just continue filling with water until you reach the tippy-top rim making note of how much it takes to fill the item. I always do this in the sink for easy clean up

make it yours

The first thing you should know is that there are six ways to Sunday (I understand Bradley Cooper says there are ten… anyhoo). What that means is that there are a ka-jillion ways you can customize this recipe

  • Substitute any of the cheeses with your favorite or try it with smoked Cheddar or Gouda
  • Add pan-fried prosciutto or crispy bacon
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs when it comes out of the oven
  • A bread crumb topping would be nice too, just stir the reserved cup of cheese into the béchamel for extra cheesy flavor and pulse some bread in the food processor—toss with melted butter and chopped fresh parsley
  • Stir in some diced smoky ham, preferably from one that you baked in your oven & keep it in the freezer portioned in sandwich bags for moments like these. {it’s also great for last-minute scone cravings when added with shredded Gruyère, but I digress} Brown it off in a skillet before tossing it in

who makes it possible

Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar
Publix Whipping Cream
Mueller’s Corkscrew Pasta

 

download it & get busy {in the kitchen}
“Do You Believe in Love” Huey Lewis & the Newsone bite & you’ll be in love too

Huey Lewis And The News – Do You Believe In Love


{watch the video on YouTube … uploaded by emimusic}

 

Be sweet.

About Rebecca

Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Southern College Football Fanatic * SEC Tailgate Strategist * Southern Recipe Writer... & Sometimes Novelist * Half-Hour Hostess * Media Personality * Houndstooth Hound Owner * Small Town Dreamer * Big Idea Doer * 3rd Generation Pimiento Cheese Fixer * Casserole Maker * Budweiser Drinker * Bourbon Cocktail Sipper * Peanut Butter Love Affair * Calorie Burner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer ...but doesn't care

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