About a week ago, before this unbearable heat wave in the Northeast, we had a cold, rainy day and I was looking for something to put in the oven for dinner to heat up the house. I had starred this macaroni and cheese recipe when Bridget, over at The Way the Cookie Crumbles, blogged abbout it in January, so I decided it was the perfect night to finally make it.
I have been on a quest to make really good macaroni and cheese for a while. I had tried a couple different recipes prior to my food blogging days, but never quite found the perfect recipe. Of all the recipes I have tried, this one was very good, but still not what I am looking for. Nate loved it though, he thought it the best one I have made. I did broil it a little bit to long, so the bread crumbs got a little crispy. Honestly though, I thought they made it taste like a grilled cheese, so it was fine with me. This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated.
Classic Macaroni and Cheese
- Bread Crumb Topping:
- 6 slices white sandwich bread (good-quality, about 6 ounces), torn into rough pieces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces
- Pasta and Cheese:
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons powdered mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) (Omitted)
- 5 cups milk
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (2 cups)
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
For the bread crumbs: Pulse bread and butter in food processor until crumbs are no larger than 1/8 inch, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. Set aside.
For the pasta and cheese: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander.
In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne (if using) and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.
Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9 by 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve