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Macaroni and Cheese
(recipe, Jamie Passaro)
This is a version of one of Martha Stewart's many takes on a classic. You can easily divide this recipe in half; use a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish instead.
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
- 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
- 5½ cups milk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 4½ cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
- 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1¼ cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.
- Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
- While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
- Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1½ cups Gruyère or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.
- Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce
- Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1½ cups cheddar cheese, ½ cup Gruyère or ¼ cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.
Be sure to read Jamie Passaro's essay on post-partum potluck.