Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

I have had this recipe for quite a few years now, all thanks to my friend Scottie.  He had been working on a M & C recipe and this was what he came up's amazing.  I cannot improve on it so I will share it with you as he did with me.  I will say,  I don't always have the exact amount of cheese.  In fact it's usually a wee bit over!  It's a wonderful recipe to make a day or two ahead and then all you need to do is pop it in the oven for a bit longer than usual.  I always, always, always double it.  Always.  It's that good.  Also, just as a side note, you're going to want to make sure you have a salad or veggie as a side to this meal.  The amount of cheese in it will stop a freight train from running on a regular schedule, never mind a human body.  Yes, I went there.  The family and I usually have roasted broccoli with lemon and it's fan-freaking-tastic!  This is a special occasion dish here...Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and for pot lucks so don't start complaining about the high calorie count.  Celebrate and enjoy!  Stay on the treadmill for a few extra minutes, you'll be fine.
Uncle Scottie's Mac and Cheese!

Here's What You Need:

  • 5 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons AP Flour
  • 2 ½ cups Whole Milk
  • 5 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 4 ounces Fontina, grated
  • ¼-½ teaspoon Cayenne or 1 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning, or more to taste
  • 1 pound Rigatoni, I use "Mezzi Rigatoni" it's shorter and has lines!
  • 4 ounces Mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 4 ounces Parmesan, grated

I find that having a large pot of water boiling and at the ready helps with the timing of this whole process and then bring it down to simmer while you're making your cheese sauce.  I also prep all of the cheese so that once the white sauce is ready you can toss the cheese in and voila!  Cheese sauce!
I always ask my husband to help with this part!  ♥

In another large pot melt the butter, then with a whisk add in the flour.  Whisk away for a minute or so and then slowly add in your milk.  I rarely use whole milk but in this dish it's imperative.  Trust me.  I've tried making a lower fat version and it did not go over well.  You are going to need to watch over your pot of almost goodness now, keep whisking so nothing burns on the bottom of the pan.  The sauce will thicken up in 20 minutes or so, a bit longer if your doubling (which again, I highly recommend).  You can call on your inner Julia Childs and do that fancy french trick of coating the back of a wooden spoon and run your finger through the sauce on it to see if the line stays formed, if you'd like.  Talk with a french accent if you so choose, I won't judge.

Once your white sauce is thickened I want you to add in the Gorgonzola and stir it all in with the whisk to help break it up further.  Then add in the fontina.  Things are going to start getting ooey and gooey really quickly now and you can start doing a subtle happy dance.  Turn your heat off and add in your seasonings.  You all know by now that I like spicy foods so adjust to your liking.  Now if you happen to have a nice loaf of bread laying about and you want to dunk a piece in the sauce, to check for seasoning of course, then go right on ahead.

So your sauce is done, now just boil your noodles and you are in the home stretch.  You will want to cook them for a minute or two less than what the package says since they will be going into the oven for a bit of time too.  Drain and add them right back to the large pot I told you to get in the first place.  Now comes the cheese sauce, add it in with the noodles, combine well and then add in your Mozzarella.   Stir it.
See those little cubes of Mozzarella?  Oh happy day!!!

Your happy dance can get a little less subtle.  Grab a casserole dish and transfer your cheesy noodle goodness to it and use a scraper to get every last bit of sauce out of the pot.  Hell you can grab another hunk of bread and get it all.  Again, I won't judge.  Just don't.  Leave.  It.  In.  The.  Pot.

Now top it all with your grated Parmesan and cover it with tin foil.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly then uncover for 15-20 to get the top nice and browned.  Don't forget that if you are making this ahead of time just stop short of baking it.  Put it in the fridge until you are ready.  It will need to bake for more like 45-50 minutes to get all bubbly and fabulous before browning the top.

Bon's time to eat!