Mac n’ Cheese

Everyone loves Macaroni and Cheese.  This year for his birthday, my son requested it for his birthday. No, he’s not 12. He was 22.  So I made it, along with some delicious short ribs.  Here’s my basic recipe, which as you know is completely eyeballed, turned into approximate measurements for you, my loyal audience.

macncheese

 

1 qt cream

4 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped (or more)

3+ cloves of garlic minced

lots of cheese.  I’d go with 1-2lb grated. or more Keep  2 cups separate for later.

(I like using a mix of Sharp Cheddar, Gruyere, Provolone, Parmesan and Gouda.  Asiago, Ementhaller and Fonitina also work well.  Mix and match to your palate.  I tend to avoid Mozzarella.)

1-2lbs Pasta of your Choice  – like penne or cellentani (or cavatappi) both have holes and ridges for the holding the cheese goodness.

1-2 cups of bread crumbs

2T butter

Salt

Pepper

 

Optional Ingredients to make it your own:

Herbs – basil, thyme,  smoked paprika

Meats – BACON, pulled pork, smoked chicken, garlic shrimp, meatballs!

Sautéed vegetables – onions, leeks, garlic, JALAPENOS! Chilis, etc.

Sauces – Chimichurri, BBQ sauce etc.

 

I a heavy pot, simmer the cream, rosemary and garlic till the cream reduces by about half.  I like using my La Creuset Soup Pot.  It holds the heat well and cleans up nicely.  That’s important with melted cheese.  If it helps to imagine it, mine is green that is out of production.
Start your pasta water.  I generally make 1.5 to 2 pounds in a very large pot to al dente.  You want to time your pasta to be done just after your sauce.

 

Take the pot off the heat. Let it sit for a moment or 2.

 

Slowly whisk in a handful of the till melted.  Then another.  And another.  Use the heat in the sauce. and pot to melt the additional cheese.  If the pot gets too hot, the sauce will break and you will have a liquid and a mess of sticky goo.  This is not what you want.

 

As the cheese is added, the pot cools, so put back on a low flame every 5 or 6 handfuls for a few minutes to warm it back up.  This is one reason why I like cooking with gas.  It is very easy to control the heat.

 

Continue until you have added all the cheese or you believe. The sauce is to your taste.  Taste it often.  It is your reward, after all.

 

Add salt and (white) pepper to taste.

 

Drain the pasta, but do not rinse.
Mix the cooked pasta in either a bowl or the greased baking dish.  DO NOT MIX IN THE PASTA POT.  That will break the sauce. If you decide to use optional ingredients mix them in now.  I might layer a sauce or drizzle as the end.

Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese headed to oven!

 

I like to cover the top with handful of cheese, often Provolone or Cheddar.  This was the cheese you kept separate.

 

Cover with the top bread crumb. Put butter dots on top of the bread crumbs.  Because you can never have enough cheese and you have a block of Parmesan sitting there, shave some on top of the butter in fine layer.

 

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so.  Cut into squares, serve and enjoy for a week.  Unless you have 12 friends over, then it will be gone.
old mac n cheese

 

 

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Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Tara Smith

     /  August 5, 2014

    YUM! I really miss pasta. *sigh*

    Reply
  2. Let’s be honest, I’ve given up most pasta too. I make it for everyone else. I try to only eat a few bites.

    Reply
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