Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Mac & Cheese
Today I decided to make homemade mac & cheese instead of just opening a box of Kraft. The original recipe I use is my Dad's, who called it his "world famous mac & cheese." My dad really was a great cook in his day, but a very messy one. That must be where I get it from??? However, I have been feeling really crumby about the amount of BAD food Matt and I have been eating since, say, December! So, I wanted to tone the recipe down a bit. I searched for quite a while, and ended up using a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. I have made some modifications to it, but not much. I have put a * next to what I did differently that wasn't in the recipe.
Salt, to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 (12-ounce) can 2 % reduced-fat evaporated milk
2/3 cup low-fat milk (2 %)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or celery salt (optional)
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)*
4 ounces fontina cheese, grated**
*original recipe called for the 8 ounces of cheddar, but I wanted a bit more cheese, and I wanted to use 2 different types, so in addition to the cheddar I used 4 oz. of fontina as well. (Also like gruyere in this recipe)
1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni; cook until the pasta is completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.
2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2 percent milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar and gruyere until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
The ATK recipe stops there, tells you to let stand and then serve. I like to bake my mac and cheese, so typically I would go on and add the next step below.
*4. Combine the pasta with the cheese mixture and pour into a baking dish. Combine bread crumbs with a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese and spread over the top of the macaroni. You could also add some additional grated cheddar and gruyere cheese to this mixture as well, if you have some on hand.
I have made a number of different mac & cheese recipes over the past few years, and I would like to officially declare this one my favorite!!!! And, the fact that is is lower in fat & calories makes me feel a little better about loving it so much!