MACARONI AND CHEESE

MACARONI AND CHEESE

Macaroni and Cheese - Photo by ROLAND BELLO

This has always been a favorite dish. I like the idea of baking it in individual ramkins.

Macaroni and Cheese

from GINA MARIE MIRAGLIA ERIQUEZ

SERVES 20
  • ACTIVE TIME:35 MIN
  • START TO FNISH:1 1/4 HR
AUGUST 2007
The toasted crumbs on top have a cheesy crispness, and the pasta beneath is creamy and rich. Kids will appreciate the individual servings, but the recipe makes plenty, so why not pour the extra into a baking dish to feed the ravenous parents?

FOR TOPPING

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) or 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm white sandwich bread)
  • 1/4 lb coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

FOR MACARONI AND SAUCE

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 lb coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni

MAKE TOPPING:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
  • Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

MAKE SAUCE:

  • Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.

MAKE MACARONI:

  • Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 buttered 2-quart shallow baking dishes.
  • Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
COOKS’ NOTES: Topping can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Half of dish can be baked in 10 (6- to 8-ounce) ramekins for children (with remaining half baked in a 2-quart baking dish for adults).

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