Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Mac & Cheese

We went to a cookout on Memorial Day and made our Homemade Mac & Cheese. The recipe is based off Alton Brown's Macaroni & Cheese recipe, but of course we switched it up a little bit.

Unfortunately, there was too much going on to take step by step pictures, so you'll have to settle for our detailed description. Sorry!

Here's what you'll need:
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp ground mustard
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced (we actually used Vidalia to counteract the Pepperjack)
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (You can use 1/2 of regular paprika if you want)
1 bay leaf
1 large egg
6 oz sharp cheddar, freshly shredded
6 oz pepperjack, freshly shredded

3 Tbsp butter
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Start off by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.

Now, make your roux. In a medium high-walled saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk that around for about 5 minutes. 

Your whisking muscles are going to get a workout here...

Also, this would be a great time to get your water boiling for your pasta. Remember to cover the pot to get things moving faster!

Ensure that your roux is lump free, then add the onion, bay leaf, paprika, smoked paprika, mustard, and milk. Keep whisking to combine everything.

Let that simmer for 10 minutes, whisking frequently. About halfway through this, you'll want to drop your pasta. Cook it to al dente, because you're going to bake the pasta too.

When your 10 minutes are up, remove the bay leaf. You may have to search around a bit - your mixture will have thickened up by this point.

Now, temper in your egg.

Don't know how to temper an egg? Simply add some of the hot sauce mixture to a bowl with the beaten egg to slowly raise the temperature. Do this a few times. Trust us - you don't want scrambled egg in your Mac & Cheese!

Stir in 3/4 of your shredded cheese. It should melt in fairly quickly, but whisk away until it's combined. Now, salt and pepper to taste and stir in your macaroni. 

Pour that into a 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

In a separate bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and toss the Panko in to coat it. Add that to the top of your casserole.

Bake for 30 minutes. The breadcrumbs will turn nice and golden brown and you will see the cheese on top nice and melty.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then serve.


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