Baked Macaroni and Cheese

macandcheeseThis is another recipe I got from Cook’s Illustrated.  It’s from their book, Best Cover & Bake Recipes.   I love to cook casseroles because you can just assemble them ahead of time and let them cook for long periods in the oven.    They also travel pretty well and allow you to freeze them.    I made this for one of our beer brewing sessions, and it was the real deal..  got a lot of raves… probably better than what I’ve had in the restaurants.   Although I hear Kelly’s Bar and Lounge makes a mean Mac and Cheese in East Liberty.   The flavors go really well together and the bread crumb crust is divine.  

4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups low sodium chicken broth
3 ½ cups whole milk
16 ounces Colby cheese, shredded (about 5  1/3 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 2/3 cups)
Ground black pepper

1.  For the Topping.   Process the bread and butter in a food processor fitted with the steel blade until coarsely ground, about six 1-second pulses; set aside.

2.  For the Macaroni and Cheese.   Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat.   Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the macaroni; cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, about 5 minutes.    Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.

3.  Wipe the pot dry.  Add the butter and return to medium heat until melted.   Add the garlic, mustard, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.   Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute.   Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk; bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until large bubbles form on the surface and the mixture is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.   Off the heat, whisk in the Colby and cheddar gradually until completely melted.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir, breaking up any clumps, until well combined.   Pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish (or a shallow casserole dish of similar size) and sprinkle with the bread-crumb topping.  Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.   Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: The BEst Cover & Bake Recipes


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