Sunday, December 12, 2010

Macaroni and cheese

Last night I made macaroni and cheese using a recipe from "The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles" which is an awesome cook book.

Here's the recipe:

6T unsalted butter
1C fresh bread crumbs
8oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1C grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
12oz evaporated milk
0.25t hot red pepper sauce
1t dry mustard, dissolved in 1t water
12oz elbow macaroni
4oz sliced ham, finely chopped
1C frozen peas, thawed
Ground black pepper

1. Heat 2T butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the foam subsides.  Add the bread crumbs and cook, tossing to coat with the butter, until the crumbs just begin to color.  Season to taste with salt.  Cool completely, toss with 2T Gruyere and 2T Parmesan and set aside.
[The bread crumbs will soak up the butter pretty quickly so make sure to shake the skillet frequently.]

2. Adjust the oven rack 6" from the heating element and heat the broiler.
[Broilers don't take long to warm up so there is no rush.  I'd also use a low broiler setting if you have one.]

3. Mix the eggs, 1C evaporated milk, hot pepper sauce and mustard mixture in a small bowl, set aside.

4. Meanwhile, bring 3qt of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add 2t salt and the macaroni and cook until almost tender, but still a little firm to the bite.  Drain and return the pasta to the pot over low heat.  Add the remaining 4T butter and toss to melt.
[Subtract 1-2 minutes off the recommending cooking time found on the box.]

5. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta along with three-quarters of the remaining cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and the cheese starts to melt.  Gradually add the remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until the mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the ham and peas.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Pour the cooked macaroni and cheese into a 9-inch square baking dish pan.  Spread the crumbs evenly over the top.  Broil until the crumbs turn deep brown, 1 to 2 minutes.  Let stand to set a bit, about 5 minutes and serve.

As you can see, I broiled just a bit too long.  I also used a 9x13 pan because I used 16oz of macaroni since I didn't feel like leaving just 4oz in the box.

It turned out well and I would definitely make it again.  I think the mustard is a nice addition because just cheese and noodles can be a little bland.

I've now banged out 82 recipes towards my challenge.


Unknown said...

Did you use wholewheat pasta for this dish?

Jeremy said...

I did, but you don't have to.