We are on a quest. A quest for a good macaroni and cheese. We try lots of mac & cheese recipes, or other baked pasta recipes, but none seem to be right. Tonight we tried one from Real Simple magazine, and it is perhaps one of the best we've made. I can't say it's the best macaroni & cheese ever, because we will continue with our quest, but it is the best of the ones we have tried. With Gruyere, cheddar, and a bit of cayenne pepper, it is creamy and cheesy without being overly starchy and sticky. We enjoyed it a lot and would make it again.
Notes: We used low-fat milk, reduced-fat cheddar, and a little less butter.
Macaroni and Cheese
Real Simple, 11/06
1 pound elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole or low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Cheddar
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyère
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Heat oven to 350° F.
Cook the macaroni according to the package directions.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Still stirring, slowly add the milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 7 minutes. Add the Cheddar, Gruyère, salt, and cayenne (if using) and heat until the cheeses melt.
Drain and rinse the macaroni. Add it to the sauce and toss. Transfer to a buttered casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
In Advance: Assemble the macaroni and cheese but do not bake it. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake as directed, adding 15 to 20 minutes to the cooking time.
Yield: 6-8 servings