Saturday, March 14, 2009

Everyday Food: Southern Mac & Cheese

In these last few weeks of winter, I've been combing through my favorite cookbooks and magazines for recipes to work my oven as much as possible before the weather warms and cravings for thick, rich macaroni and cheese are replaced by crisp, fresh salads and juicy chunks of watermelon.

In the March 2009 Everyday Food, I came across a feature titled "10 Ways to Love Pasta." I thought this to be a genius story - not only is pasta a quick weeknight meal, but it's budget-friendly, perfect for a time when many of us are tightening our belts. The one that stared right at me as the perfect meal for a chilly Sunday evening was Martha's Southern Mac & Cheese.

First, set aside two cups of elbow macaroni. While boiling the water for the macaroni, prepare the macaroni and cheese sauce. You can use pre-shredded cheddar cheese if you're pressed for time, but not to be out-Martha'ed by Martha, I grated 2 cups of cheddar cheese by hand.

Combine a cup of half-and-half, two eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1 clove of garlic, minced, in a large bowl. Whisk to combine; add cheddar cheese.

Just before pasta is al dente, drain and combine with cheese mixture. Divide into ramekins or spread into a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.

The next step Martha suggests is to combine two torn slices of white bread in a food processor with two tablespoons of butter. I had some homemade rosemary-garlic ciabatta breadcrumbs on hand so I used those to top off the casserole.

Dividing evenly, top pasta mixture with 1/2 cup cheddar, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until mac and cheese is golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes in ramekins, 25 minutes in a baking dish. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Michelle said...

Super easy to sub whole grain pasta and whole grain bread for the bread crumbs too! Mmmm i love mac-n-cheese....

Chef E said...

I have not made this since my kids were little, they burned me out, but I do long for some cheesy goodness now and then.

I just realized you are the doughnut blog I found a month or so ago on google, and loved the little doughnut hole in your hand photo!

Love your blog!

Esi said...

I constantly crave mac and cheese. I am adding this to the list of must-try recipes.

Unknown said...

This looks fantastic! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Just happened to have some rosemary ciabatta bread crumbs on hand huh? I think you are doing the Martha thing quite well. LOL!!! This recipe looks yummy.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog and the lovely compliment :) This recipe looks amazing :)

Anonymous said...

A good story

GK Chesterton: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

Voila: This book is a poetic view of 30 of the best loved French cheeses with an additional two odes to cheese. Recipes, wine pairing, three short stories and an educational section complete the book.

From a hectic life in New York City to the peace and glories of the French countryside lead me to be the co-founder of Ten years later with the words of Pierre Androuet hammering on my brain:

“Cheese is the soul of the soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”

I took pen and paper; many reams later with the midnight oil burning Tasting to Eternity was born and self published.

I believe cheese and wine lovers should be told about this publication.