Thursday, December 1, 2011

Classic Mac & Cheese

Tragically, I was under the impression that Hunter didn't like mac & cheese for the first year of our marriage. This all stems from the fact that he would incessantly mock me for ordering mac & cheese at Noodles and Company every time we went. I don't think I ever asked how he felt about home baked mac & cheese. 


Then one day as we were browsing Annie's Eats looking for something to make for dinner, the first recipe on her page was for mac & cheese. I made a comment something like "it's really tragic that you don't like mac & cheese because I would try all of her recipes". His response was something like "what? I do like mac & cheese!"


I am so happy that we resolved this little misunderstanding. As it turns out, we are both big fans of this recipe as well as the other one I have tried. You can't go wrong with this cheesy pasta goodness. 

Recipe:
Yield: 8-10 servings

For the crumb topping:
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I like the pre-made ones at the store)
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and Pepper

For the pasta:
1 lb pasta (any shape you like)
6 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp flour
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
3 1/2 cups milk
1 lb colby jack cheese, shredded
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Ground black pepper

To make the bread crumb topping, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook just until it begins to soften. Drain and leave in the colander. 

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, dry mustard, and cayenne, cooking just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and milk and continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheeses, whisking until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the drained pasta into the cheese sauce. 

Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into a lightly greased 9x13" baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. * Bake 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden brown. (You may want to place a baking sheet on the rack underneath the baking dish to catch any sauce that bubbles over.)

*At this point, the dish can be wrapped tightly with foil and refrigerated for up to 2 days. To serve, bake covered at 400 degrees until the filling is hot, about 40-45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until the bread crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes more. 

Source: Annie's Eats

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