Saturday, July 24, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

Can a recipe that calls for one pound of cheese not be delicious? Relatively quick to make, the most time consuming steps are grating said pound of cheese and making the béchamel base. The cheese sauce could be used many ways, perhaps spooned over poached eggs, broccoli, or for fondue.


Beecher's Flagship Cheese Sauce
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
14 ounces semihard cheese, grated, about 3 1/2 cups (I used aged sharp cheddar)
2 ounces semisoft cheese, about 1/2 cup (I've used Gruyère and Havarti)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

-Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking to evenly cook flour for 2 minutes. The flour/butter mixture will begin to brown lightly and smell nutty.
-Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
-Remove pan from the heat and add cheeses, salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for ~3 days.


Macaroni and Cheese
16 ounces penne
4 cups Beecher's Flagship Cheese Sauce (below)
1 ounce cheddar, grated (1/4 cup)
1 ounce Gruyère cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder (to taste)

-Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 9x13 glass baking dish.
-Cook penne two minutes shy of package directions, drain, and rinse with cool water.
-Combine pasta and sauce in a large bowl, mixing carefully. Scrape pasta into baking dish and top with cheeses and chili powder.
-Bake uncovered for 20-40 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling and the top has started to brown lightly. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

-Adapted from Pure Flavor, by Kurt Beecher Dammeier

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