Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ultimate Mac-N-Cheese

7 ounces elbow macaroni

For the bechamel:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups whole milk
 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

For the casserole:
2 tablespoons grated onion
3 cups grated, extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese (try Canadian version from Trader Joe's??)
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
 1/2 cup white panko bread crumbs
 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook macaroni for 7 minutes, and drain. While the macaroni cooks, prepare the bechamel by heating the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper, and stir over low heat until mixture is smooth and bubbling. Remove from heat, whisk in milk, and return to heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and let the sauce boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in nutmeg.
Spread half of the cooked macaroni in an ungreased, 2-quart casserole dish. Top with half of the onion, half of each cheese and half of the salt and pepper. Repeat. Pour the bechamel over the macaroni and cheese. Just before baking, spread the panko bread crumbs on top, and dot with butter.
Cover with foil, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

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