My mother-in-law Anne's birthday is today so on Monday evening we had the family over to celebrate. I made thyme-coated pork loin and a salad, my brother-in-law John's girlfriend Rebecca made corn muffins and John and Rebecca made Classic Macaroni and Cheese from Cook's Illustrated. They had made this recipe before and raved about it, so I asked them to recreate it for dinner.
John and Rebecca adding the cheese....mmmm.
This macaroni and cheese was fantastic! It was gooey and creamy with just the right amount of flavor. A definite hit!
Classic Macaroni and Cheese
Bread Crumb Topping:
6 slices white sandwich bread (good-quality, about 6 ounces), torn into rough pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces
Pasta and Cheese:
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 cups milk
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
For the bread crumbs: Pulse bread and butter in food processor until crumbs are no larger than 1/8 inch, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. Set aside.
For the pasta and cheese: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander.
In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne (if using) and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.
Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9-by 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve.