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Eclecticisms: Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Casserole- what a concept. What deliciousness. What great left-overs!

I was craving macaroni and cheese the other day (in 95 degree heat... don't ask) and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted a slight crunch, rich sauce and tantalizing flavor. No sir, simple macaroni and cheese just wouldn't do. Thanks to smart phones, I spent my train ride home looking for recipes to try and immediately found this Alton Brown recipe. Given his genius along with my luck trying his lentil soup recipe, I was all for giving this one a go. I made only slight alterations (Sorry, Alton...) and was very satisfied with the results. My brother and sister-in-law loved it as well, so this will definitely make more appearances. Maybe even for holidays!


Ingredients

1/2 pound elbow macaroni (*I used 3/4 lb)
3 Tbs truffle infused olive oil (*My addition)
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1 Tbs powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
3 slices provolone (*My addition)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Topping:

3 Tbsps butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs


Boil noodles in a large pot until al dente. I found the sauce to be very thick and rich, so don't be afraid to use more pasta than is called for. I used more and it was still plenty thick! Once the noodles have cooked and have been drained, add the truffle olive oil and mix well. Not only will this add an amazing flavor, but will ensure the noodles don't start to stick to each other after the've cooked.


While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large pot. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes, making sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika.


Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. (*I found the bay leaf flavor to be quite noticeable and would remove it after 7-8 minutes next time, so it is a bit more subtle.)


Temper in the egg. (Make sure to temper it in and not just add it or you may end up with a scrambled egg!)


Stir in the cheddar (only 3/4ths if omitting the provolone). Season with salt and pepper.




 Stir macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with provolone or remaining cheddar.


To make the topping, melt the butter in a small pan/pot and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.


Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


Serve alone, or paired with some delicious veggies. I went with one of my favorites, browned brussel sprouts. YUM!

Happy eating!

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