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Day 10: World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese

6

January 23, 2011

World's Best Macaroni and Cheese

World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese

Today was a spectacularly beautiful day in Seattle. The kind of day that makes you appreciate living in the NW and just a tad bit smug that you aren’t living in New England and bracing for the next foot of snow to drop. The sun was shining, the buds on the trees starting to awaken, and Seattle-ites out in full force enjoying every minute of it. Onca and I were no exception and enjoyed a long walk along the lake and a trip to PCC complete with Onca’s backpack so she could pull her own weight (and by own weight, I mean beer, wine, cream, and milk). It was an exhausting trip and clearly required a full nap afterward.

Such a busy day.

While Ms. Onca slept I pondered what we should have for dinner that would be worthy of this day. Having enjoyed an amazing dinner with our friends Wendy and Andy at The Walrus and the Carpenter last night I was eager to keep the creative foodie genius I’d experienced going. And clearly, nothing says creative foodie genius more than a January BBQ and Bonfire with neighborhood friends.

Matt volunteered to do burgers, and Angela claimed ribs and spinach salad, which left me with no other choice but to make a big dish of the World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese. This is based  on Beecher’s famous recipe, but with a few suggested tweaks/additions, and I would challenge you to find a recipe you like more. This is certainly a treat to make since it’s so undeniably unhealthy, but as a once-in-a-while splurge there’s really nothing better.

This serves 8, but halves beautifully, or you can also make it in two smaller dishes and freeze what you like for a quick dinner some weeknight. Also, feel free to experiment a bit with the cheeses and use whatever you have in the fridge. Goat cheese is a nice addition and doing a bit of Parmesan gives it a slightly more complex flavor.

World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 lb  penne pasta

Beecher’s Flagship Sauce (recipe follows)

1 ounce cheddar, grated ( 1/4 cup)

1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated ( 1/4 cup)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

BEECHER’S FLAGSHIP CHEESE SAUCE

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

14 ounces semihard cheese, such as Beecher’s Flagship, grated (about 3 1/2 cups)

2 ounces grated semisoft cheese, such as Beecher’s Just Jack

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

dash of hot sauce (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil or butter a 9×12 baking dish

Cook the penne 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and set aside.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chile powder, garlic powder, mustard, and hot sauce. Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.

Combine cooked pasta and Flagship Sauce in a medium bowl and mix carefully but thoroughly.

Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cheeses, chile powder, and panko. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Note: The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days.


6 comments »

  1. Janine says:

    This sounds delish!!! the chili powder does worry me though. If I don’t like chipotle should I leave it out? Also, Flagship Brand isn’t available here so what semi-hard cheese would you recommend?

  2. Janine says:

    Thanks!! I will let you know. This week it will be cold and I love comfort food like this when it’s cold so I will make it and let you know. Thanks for this recipe!!!

    janine

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