Monday, February 15, 2010

Mac 'n' Cheese

I found this recipe years ago in Rosie O’Donnell’s magazine Rosie. The recipe was written by Emeril Lagasse.

This recipe long ago became a family favorite and is especially loved by our family we had dinner with last night. I love how an old recipe can teach you new things every time you make it. Yesterday I ground nutmeg for the first time. My husband does not generally enjoy food seasoned with nutmeg, but my aunt assured him that he would if I ground it fresh. I got no complaints about a weird flavor last night. I also noticed upon reading this recipe closely the direction to sprinkle paprika on top before baking. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I wish I would have noticed before I made yesterday’s batch – I have a wonderfully smelling new jar of smoked paprika.

Did the recipe help empty the pantry or freezer? Yes and No. Yes, I used a box of pasta shells I had in the pantry. No, because as I alluded to earlier I forgot to defrost the cheddar cheese and we had to do a store run. And the blocks of cheese we prefer were buy one, get one. So now I have three blocks of cheese in the freezer instead of just one.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Unsalted butter, for greasing
1 lb elbow macaroni (I use shells because they hold the sauce better)
¼ cup each unsalted butter, flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chopped scallions
1 tsp each salt, black pepper, dry mustard (I prefer mustard seeds) and hot red pepper sauce
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ cups each shredded sharp white and mild cheddar cheese
¼ tsp paprika
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Butter 13x9x2 in baking dish or 2 ½ qt casserole

Cook pasta according to directions, drain and rinse with cold water.

In saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour over medium heat, 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and cream and bring to a boil whisking. Stir in scallions, salt, pepper, mustard, pepper sauce, and nutmeg; simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almost all the cheese until smooth. Pour sauce over pasta in the baking dish and toss. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and paprika.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden. Sprinkle with parmesan and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
NOTES: We love this recipe because of the surprise from the mustard seeds and the ever so slight kick from the pepper sauce. We usually use it as a main course and love it with a Caesar Salad and a nice crusty loaf of bread.

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