This may sound unlikely based on what you see here, but I’m usually a pretty healthy eater. Lots of vegetables, lentils, sometimes fish…boring, really. But every now and then you just need some macaroni and cheese.
Since I don’t eat stuff like this very often, when I do I want it to be as rich and delicious as humanly possible. I was lucky with this batch: we had a bunch of really nice cheeses left over after a party, so the cheddar and gruyere Martha Stewart says to use were augmented by lots of Kapiti blue and small bits of Port Salut, Over the Moon OMG brie (the best brie in the world, sorry France), and a couple other random cheeses as well. If you have cheese you need to get rid of, or if you don’t mind spending a little more on some fancy cheese to add in, I highly recommend it.
Or, of course, you can just stick with a nice sharp cheddar. It will still be awesome.
Outrageous Macaroni & Cheese
(Adapted liberally from Martha Stewart’s Perfect Mac & Cheese)
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4-inch pieces
225 grams (8 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
1 liter (4 1/4 cups) whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
740 grams (26 ounces) grated cheese – either 520 grams (18 ounces) cheddar and 220 grams (8 ounces) gruyere, or a mixture of whatever you want (I’d still go mostly cheddar, though). The weight isn’t set in stone either, though I wouldn’t go under about 600 grams at the very, very least.
500 grams elbow macaroni
truffle oil to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit). Butter a 3-quart casserole dish (or a 9×13 inch baking dish) and set aside.
2. Place the bread pieces in a small bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons (~30 grams) of butter and pour over the bread, tossing to coat as evenly as possible. Set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave), heat milk and set aside. Melt the remaining butter in a large saucepan. When it bubbles, add flour and whisk continuously for one minute.
4. Slowly pour in the hot milk, stirring continuously. Continue cooking until the mixture bubbles and thickens.
5. Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the salt, peppers, and nutmeg. Set aside 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar and gruyere if you’re using it) and mix the rest of the cheese into the milk mixture. Add truffle oil to taste (if using). Set aside.
6. Cook the pasta until just underdone – for 2 or 3 minutes less than the time on the back of the bag. The outside should be cooked and the inside underdone. Pour into a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain well. Stir into the cheese sauce.
7. Pour the cheesy pasta into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top and the breadcrumbs on top of that. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then serve.