You haven’t lived until you’ve had this mac and cheese. No, I know your aunt Jo Alice makes a bitchin’ mac and cheese. Yes, I heard your grandmother won a state championship for her mac and cheese, but sister, you are wrong. Wanna know how I know? Martha told me so. I listen to that woman. I learned my lesson back when I tried to cheat on her with Mario Batali. Big Mistake. Huge. Well, it’s been all about the warm hugs from food here this week, what with the pumpkin ice cream and the carrot cake, why the hell not throw in a fatal mac and cheese? I know, you’ve gained 10 pounds just reading this blog, but I never promised you tips to trim your waistline, now did I?
Guys, I’ve been thinking. It just struck me. I know, it just sounds crazy. It sounds like I’ve had one too many glasses of pinot, it sounds like I’ve gone all Do-It-Yourself over here. But honestly, what I wouldn’t GIVE to be able to cater my own wedding! I would just revel in that. I would roll like a pig in shit at the opportunity. Alas, a bride who rolls like a pig in shit, is sure to lose her husband. (Can you see it? I am at my wedding with a side pony, tomato sauce on my face and a stained wedding dress. I totally can see it.) It’s been done before. Forkable did it. Why can’t I? Oh I don’t know, because you’re a crazy person with a full time job, part time blog, 2 cats, and fifi who thinks your two shakes from certifiable. Maybe that’s why you can’t do it, Whitney, you crazy fixer upper, why buy it when you can build it, make it from scratch cat lady! Say it with me kids, CUH-RASY.
Holy Tangent. I’m sorr. Back to the breadwinner (literally, HAH!) So Martha calls for Gruyere and I say pish posh on that. Why even fight with the Cheddar, give him the ring! He has clearly proven to be the superior cheese and I bow to you, Sir Cheddar, Knight of my belly. Sorr Marth, I know you love some stinky cheese too, but when I’m eating mac and cheese, I need to be able to eat half the pan. If there is gruyere in there I can’t do that. Watch the magic happen below. As promised
Macaroni and Cheese, Modified from Martha Stewarts ‘The New Classics’
8 ounces dried elbow macaroni
6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dishes
1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
2 ounces Italian fontina cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
8 ounces extra-sharp white-cheddar cheese, grated (3 cups), 1/3 cup reserved for topping
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1 cup), 1/2 cup reserved for topping
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Heat oven and boil pasta: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add salt generously and cook pasta 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's instructions (the outside should be cooked but the inside underdone. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
Meanwhile, make bread crumbs: Tear bread into large pieces and pulse a few times in a food processor to form very large crumbs. Transfer to a bowl, and add melted butter. Toss evenly to coat.
Prepare baking dishes: Butter eight 6-ounce shallow baking dishes or one 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Make cheese sauce: Melt butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat, add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until bubbling but not browning, about 45 seconds. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon (scrape across the bottom and around edge of pot to prevent scorching), until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add fontina, 1 2/3 cups grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Parmigianno-Reggiano, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper, add cayenne and nutmeg, and stir to combine.
Assemble and add cheese topping: Add pasta to sauce and stir to thoroughly combine. Pour into prepared baking dishes and sprinkle evenly with the reserved cheeses, followed by the bread crumbs. If using, top with cherry tomatoes and thyme.
Place dishes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until bubbling and cheese is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Roll around like a pig in shit while you eat mac and cheese.
Do you have a belly ache yet? I do. and I want more of it.