Mac & Cheese Recipe for the Kid in You

by | Mar 5, 2018

On these cold rainy nights sometimes I just want some real comfort food like macaroni and cheese. A good macaroni and cheese takes me back to my childhood when I was a picky eater and would only eat Hot Dogs and Mac and Cheese.

Here is an adult version of that childhood favorite:

This recipe serves 12

Ingredients:

8

tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish

6

slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn or diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces

5-1/2

cups milk

1/2

cup all-purpose flour

2

teaspoons salt

1/4

teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4

teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

4-1/2

cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)

2

cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)

1

pound elbow macaroni

Method:

  1. Heat 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. Pull out 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Gruyere and reserve.
  2. Fill a large pot 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.Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Set aside.
  3. Make the béchamel. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. In the same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter 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 1 1/2 cups Gruyere  Stir reserved macaroni into the cheese sauce.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere , and the  breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, it’s not browned to your liking, broil the topping rather than leaving it in the oven, which may cause the pasta to overcook and sauce to dry out. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Enjoy!

Chef Paul Robbins

Hampton Bays, NY
(631) 353-0935

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