I first made this macaroni and cheese recipe from the Gourmet magazine cookbook for bocce.
It was eaten in minutes.
Emboldened by its success, I made it for the first winery job potluck.
I’d put myself under some stress for that potluck. I mean, they have a work chef! I wanted to avoid embarrassing myself in front of all the culinary experts.
My nerves had been for naught. I had no idea the speed at which this cheesy, noodley casserole would be consumed. Coworkers congratulated me for the whole rest of the week, cheering my brilliant addition to the potluck table.
And now you can p0wn your next potluck table too.
Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
16 ounces pasta shells (I like shells, some like the elbows)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 cups shredded cheese (I like sharp cheddar mixed with medium cheddar)
3/4 cup cream
1 cup reserved pasta water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup shredded cheese
Boil water for the pasta.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Shred the 5 cups of cheese, set one cup of shredded cheese aside. Make bread crumbs.
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir with a whisk. It will make a strange lumpy wad of a thing. This is the base for the roux. Keep stirring for 3 minutes.
In a thin stream, add the whole milk and the red pepper flakes, whisking all the while until the mix makes a thinnish sauce. Stir in the mustard, cheese and cream. Turn off the heat.
If the water’s boiling, cook the pasta. Save 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce — stir through. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir through — the whole thing should be a little loose. Add more water if the mixture seems too firm.
In a small bowl, put bread crumbs, melted butter, and stir through final cup of cheese.
Add the cheesy pasta to the baking dish. Sprinkle the buttery, cheesy breadcrumbs atop the macaroni and cheese.
Throw the whole dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning the dish once to ensure even baking.
I like to make double and freeze it for James to toss in the oven when I’m working late in the oven. The kids go nuts for it and he gets super-supper bragging rights.
Now go grab YOUR super supper bragging rights!