About six years ago, I stumbled across a macaroni and cheese recipe on the Martha Stewart Web site and decided to give it a try as my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner. It was such a hit that I’m now required to make it every year. It’s the perfect balance of cheese, macaroni, and crispy buttery crust. So, if you are looking for the prefect cold weather splurge, try indulging in some of this mac and cheese.
Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 slices of white bread (crust removed, torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces)*
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) white cheddar
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyère OR 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) Pecorino
1 pound elbow macaroni
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish and set aside.
- Place torn bread in medium bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and poor over the bread and toss.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk.
- Melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, when it begins to bubble add the flour. Whisk and cook the butter/flour for about 1 minute, then add to the milk.
- Remove milk mixture from the heat and stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups of cheddar, 1 1/2 cups Gruyère or 1 cup of Pecorino — then set aside.
- Cook the macaroni for 2 to 3 minutes less than the package recommends — it’s done when cooked on the outside but not the inside.
- Mix the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Pour the mixture into a dish, topping it with bread and remaining cheese.
- Cook until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
*You can also replace the bread with store bought bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs.