Sunday, February 3, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

I apologize I haven’t been posting a lot lately, I have been working non-stop the last few weeks and haven’t hardly had time to spend in the kitchen. I think you will enjoy this comforting recipe though, it’s perfect for the dreary rainy cold days we have been having in Portland lately.

I had a friend ask me for my macaroni and cheese recipe recently and I realized that I had never made it before. My grandmother makes a killer macaroni and cheese, but I have never gotten the recipe, so I decided to venture and make my own version. That’s when I ran into the debate…white sauce or custard style, or should I do the southern version and just add Velveeta and heavy cream? I decided to go with the white sauce, what sold me on that is the fact that you are using copious amounts of butter cooked with flour, how could that not be the best base for mac & cheese?
I was very satisfied with my results and got rave reviews from my friends and co-workers as I fed everyone my left-over’s so I wouldn’t become morbidly obese by eating the entire pan of deliciousness.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 22-Ounce Bag Macaroni
1 Small Onion, finely diced
1 Stick Butter, divided
½ Cup Flour
3 ½ Cups Whole Milk, warmed up in the microwave
1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
4 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheese, about one pound, divided
1 Cups Homemade Breadcrumbs (please don’t substitute store bought!)*

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook macaroni in boiling water until al-dente and drain, do not over-cook as it will cook more in the oven. In large sauce pan add 1 tablespoon of the butter and sauté onion over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add remaining butter and melt, then add flour and cook over medium high heat for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add milk while whisking and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until thickened, five minutes or so.
Add garlic salt, salt, pepper and 3 cups of the cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Stir pasta and sauce together and place into a 9x13-inch greased baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbling around the edges and top is light golden brown.

Toast 4 slices of bread in the oven at 375-degrees until golden brown and very crisp, about 10 minutes. Break into quarters and place into the bowl of a food processer, pulse until fine crumbs form. Add a couple tablespoons butter and pulse until incorporated. That was easy right?

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