Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Macaroni and Three Cheeses

Macaroni and Three Cheeses (Adapted from Everyday Food)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 ounces medium pasta shells
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 cups milk
4 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded Havarti cheese
4 ounces shredded Muenster cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400

In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook about 2 minutes short of al dente. Drain well and return to pot.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium. Remove about 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and place in a small bowl. Whisk flour, mustard powder and nutmeg into the remaining butter in the saucepan. Cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk - bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove sauce from heat and gradually whisk in cheese. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce and season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add sauce to pasta - toss well to combine. Scoop the mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish.

In a medium bowl, add panko breadcrumbs - drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of butter and toss well to coat. Scatter panko over pasta in the baking dish. If you prepared this in the morning or even the night before, you can cover it at this point and stash it in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Place in the oven and bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. If you are baking it straight from the refrigerator, add another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 servings.

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