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
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
- In a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole, place about 1/3 of the macaroni.
- 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.
- Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with the sour cream.
- 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*
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
- Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add next 5 ingredients; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
- Add cream, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and peppercorns; bring to simmer.
- Reduce heat to low; simmer until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add Taleggio and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until melted and smooth.
- Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Cool sauce slightly.
- 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.
- Preheat broiler.
- Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite.
- While pasta cooks, make crumb topping: mix first 3 ingredients in small bowl.
- Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumb mixture and sauté until golden and coated with butter, about 2 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
* Available at Italian markets, specialty food stores and some supermarkets.