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Macaroni & Cheese Two Ways - Beginner & Expert

Macaroni & Cheese Two Ways - Beginner & Expert

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate American comfort food. Its warm creamy texture soothes the soul and easily feeds a large crowd. If you've never cooked before, making a homemade mac and cheese complete with a béchamel and an eternity of cheese grating can be awfully intimidating. Thus I've found two recipes: one for those who have plenty of experience in the kitchen and one for those who are just gaining their kitchen confidence. Both recipes create an equally delicious delectable side dish that your family will love. To view the two delectable recipes,

Beginner's Macaroni & Cheese
From Diana's Kitchen

2 cups macaroni or shells
8 to 12 ounces shredded or diced process American cheese, such as velveeta
3 to 4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  3. In a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole, place about 1/3 of the macaroni.
  4. Top with 1/3 of the cheese and dot with some of the butter. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper then add about 1/3 of the sour cream.
  5. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with the sour cream.
  6. Bake at 350°, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Expert's Macaroni & Cheese
From Bon Appetit magazine

Macaroni and cheese
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 cups whipping cream
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 pound Taleggio cheese,* rind removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped whole black truffles from jar* (optional)
Ground white pepper
1-pound small elbow macaroni
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped* (about 1 3/4 cup)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon (or more) white truffle oil*
Crumb topping
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from crustless egg bread)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

  1. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add next 5 ingredients; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cream, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and peppercorns; bring to simmer.
  4. Reduce heat to low; simmer until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add Taleggio and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until melted and smooth.
  6. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Cool sauce slightly.
  7. Puree sauce in 2 batches in blender until smooth. Strain into same pot. Stir in chopped truffles, if desired. Season with salt and white pepper.
  8. Preheat broiler.
  9. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite.
  10. While pasta cooks, make crumb topping: mix first 3 ingredients in small bowl.
  11. Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumb mixture and sauté until golden and coated with butter, about 2 minutes.
  12. Drain pasta well. Add to sauce along with prosciutto, chives, parsley and 1 teaspoon truffle oil; toss to coat. Mix in additional truffle oil, if desired.
  13. Divide macaroni and cheese among 8 individual gratin dishes. Top each with Crumb Topping. Broil until topping is crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes, and serve.

Serves 8.

* Available at Italian markets, specialty food stores and some supermarkets.

98769876 98769876 10 years
I was interested in the experts recipe....until I had to keep scrolling through the list of ingredients. Too much!
kikichantelle kikichantelle 10 years
i made the expert's version last night and it was... interesting. hahahaha. didn't have truffle oil and we were out of taleggio so i used a huge hunk of manchego cheese we got from spain a couple of weeks ago. unfortunately the manchego was sort of phase separated from the rest of the buttery-milky liquid (it's closer to hard parm than the soft taleggio). and we don't have a processor, so i just mixed the pasta right in. it tasted good (especially the crispy bread crumbs!), but didn't look quite right!! hahaha. thanks for the recipe.
Ginger Ginger 10 years
Yikes. Three cups of whipping cream and over a pound of cheese? That's more of a heart stopper than many desserts.
audreystar audreystar 10 years
good ol plain mac N' cheese for me thanks. :drool:
foX1 foX1 10 years
i cannot eat more than a spoon of mac & cheese but these make me really want some. :x
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Oh, I have always wanted to make this from scratch!
thehabra thehabra 10 years
Am I the only person who hates this dish?
SU3 SU3 10 years
Wow, both sound really good!
partysugar partysugar 10 years
Songchilde: Try to spread the sour cream as evenly as possible. If it's easier to dot dot it evenly in various layers.
partysugar partysugar 10 years
The whole black truffles are optional and you could add a tablespoon more mushrooms. As for the truffle oil it's only 1 teaspoon which isnt much so if you are on a budget omit it. I think the mac&cheese would be just as delicious without it.
bookgirl bookgirl 10 years
I'm going to make the gourmet one, but do some substitution, because I'm 1. poor and 2. don't think I'll be able to find some of the ingredients around here. My Italian boyfriend will love that there's prosciutto in it.
susanec susanec 10 years
Didn't Yum just post the article about truffle oil not being truffle oil? I'm biased because I hate mushrooms and I really can't stand the smell of the oil but ick, there's just something off-putting about it, whatever it is. Other infused oil could be good (although really not necessary), that's why I like steeping the white sauce with herbs, onions and shallots.
DCStar DCStar 10 years
Oui, the gourmet version sounds grand. I doubt I'd follow the recipe precisely, but using the general idea. LOVE the Shallots/Leeks yummy. Also, you can get a nice bottle of truffle oil from Trader Joes for about $8.
daisymae051479 daisymae051479 10 years
Sounds great! But I'm so "tweaking" the expert one for my own use: I live in a small mid-western town where there just is no such thing as Taleggio cheese (I'll just replace it with something else, depends on my mood) or black truffles or white truffle oil (what can be substitued for these or can they just be omitted?). Anyway, I love to make Mac and Cheese and am totally gonna try this one next time I make it. Just a hint - I have so cheated before and made "home-made boxed" mac and cheese when in a pinch. Just make it like the box says adding a little more butter and milk. (I also add a dab of yellow mustard). Then mix in some small chunks of cheese. Put in casserole. Top w/ shredded cheese. Top w/ bread crumbs. Top with parsley. Bake until bubbly. I've had people beg me for the recipe and they die when I tell them what I did.
CestLaVie CestLaVie 10 years
Yum, both of those sound amazing- even at 9 AM :)
blonde666 blonde666 10 years
I am still a sucker for Annie's Shells & Cheese.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
Truffle oil in macaroni and cheese? That's fantastic. Could you imagine serving that at a posh dinner party - "This isn't just any mac and cheese ... it's got TRUFFLE OIL" LOL
dmartinxoxo dmartinxoxo 10 years
i still prefer my Kraft!
PartySister PartySister 10 years
I prefer Martha Stewart's mac and cheese! I love the crunchy cheesy topping!
songchilde songchilde 10 years
I was a little confused by the directions of the first one. It says to "add sour cream" but I find that vague in the context of the recipe. At first, it seems like you could be mixing it, but then it says to keep adding layer by layer, implying that no mixing is done if you are layering macaroni. Does this mean we should add a layer of sour cream? Dot with sour cream?
Kaciegrrl Kaciegrrl 10 years
How funny, I came here looking for a great mac and cheese recipe and found two! Thanks, Yum! :D
susanec susanec 10 years
I wouldn't do either, not a fan of the 'expert' ingredients but I do make an herbed onion-infused white sauce, use a variety of cheeses, top it with crumbs (usually onion or garlic melba toast), sprinkle it with parm, and generously coat it with fresh pepper then bake. I've never had it out of a box.
amandaaa amandaaa 10 years
i have the ability to make the expert but there's soo many ingredients...ughh. mmm <3macaroni and cheese
mellie_608 mellie_608 10 years
The gourmet version does sound delish, but with ingredients like black truffles and truffle oil, it's bound to get a little pricey. I'm glad they made them optional but a jar of black truffle usually only .5-.9oz. like that will cost about $15-25 and truffle oil is around the $25 mark for a small bottle. If only I had unlimited cooking resources at my disposal! :)
accessxdenied accessxdenied 10 years
ALSW - i'm with you on this one. i'm sure the expert one is delicious, but seems a bit complex for me! and as for the american cheese thing, i think i'll switch it with canadian cheddar or something
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