When I was in college I found a Martha Stewart recipe called Macaroni and Cheese 101. This is my favorite macaroni cheese recipe ever! It uses a sharp white cheddar and gruyere cheeses. I didn't even know what gruyere cheese was when I was growing up. I'm sure if I did I would have hated it. I was a really picky eater as a child.
This is a special recipe I don't make very often...in part because it will clog your arteries...and in part because it will kill you. :) The original recipe calls for butter toasted bread crumbs on top, but I have made the topping with this recipe. I try to tell myself that it is healthier without the topping...it saves me two tablespoons of butter. I've included the recipe as I made it...without the butter toasted bread crumbs. I also halved the recipe because the original make enough for 12 servings. It was just Alex and I tonight and I didn't want that many left overs.
Macaroni and Cheese 101:
6 tablespoons butter
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for water
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup gruyere cheese grated
1/2 lb elbow macaroni - I usually like to add more, otherwise it is a little soupy.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Warm the milk in an oven safe casserole dish on medium heat. Melt butter in a small frying pan. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook stirring 1 minute.
While whisking the milk, slowly at the butter/flour mixture a little at a time to keep the mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, 8-12 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cheddar and gruyere cheeses.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, and add the macaroni. Cook until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce in the casserole dish. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.I cooked up the macaroni and added it to the cheese mixture and realized my macaroni was swimming in my cheese sauce. I searched the pantry for additional elbow macaroni and all I could find was actual boxed macaroni and cheese. How is that for irony?