Sunday, October 31, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese (without Butternut Squash)

I know that I promised butternut squash mac n cheese but I completely chickened out. I was craving comfort food and I didn’t want to take the risk of adding a new ingredient! So instead I took the less-exciting route and made my normal, go-to recipe for macaroni and cheese. I make it so infrequently (because of my self-control issues when it comes to starch and cheese) that I didn’t want to mess with what I know works. If any of you would like to be braver and try adding butternut squash I would love to hear about the results. I was thinking that a combo of gruyere and parmesan would be good…
The recipe below is an approximation of how I make macaroni and cheese but I never measure so it always comes out a bit differently. I didn’t use any toppings this time but breadcrumbs are always good. My grandma’s recipe (which is still my favorite) uses saltines. I’ve also seen recipes that call for ritz crackers but I’ve never tried that. I always use cheddar and gruyere as a base but I mix up the other cheeses. Favorites include parmesan, gouda, smoked mozzarella, and goat cheese.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
makes 4 servings

1 pound pasta (penne and shells are my favs)
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1/3 cup flour
4 cups 2% milk (you can go with nonfat if you want but I don’t think it would make this that much healthier…)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
2 ½ cups extra sharp cheddar, grated
2 cups gruyere, grated
1 cup muenster, grated

Butter either a large casserole pan or individual oven-safe bowls and preheat the oven to 350. Cook the pasta in boiling water until it is soft but still a little crunchy in the middle (it will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want it to get mushy)
Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the shallots. Once the shallots have softened, add the flour and stir until it begins to brown slightly. Whisk the milk into the flour mixture, making sure to break up any lumps. Simmer, continuing to whisk, until the sauce thickens (takes about 5 minutes- be careful not to let it boil). Stir in the Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Add 1 cup each of the cheddar, gruyere, and muenster and pour the pasta into the sauce, stirring well to coat. Pour half of the pasta/cheese sauce mixture into whatever vessel you are using, and cover with about 1 cup of cheese. Then pour in the rest of the pasta and top with the remaining cheese (feel free to grate more if needed.)
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.

1 comment: