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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Higher Level Palate Pleasers : Macaroni and Cheese

Butter on Urbanspoon Everyone likes Mac(aroni) and Cheese or do they ? I find that I eat less and enjoy foods, especially this one, if I make it "differently". Why not take it to a different level with 3 cheeses? I found two that I would like and want to try.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s has a very good recipes that I saw on her own cooking show, The Cooking Loft, on the Food Channel. She also appears on other shows where she is a judge for American Iron Chef , Chopped etc). I love her manner and her show. I am sorry to say I could not make it to her restaurant in NYC when I was there recently but maybe someday.

Here's her rendition on a recent episode that I want to try. I did not want to wait to share it with you-all though.
Her restaurant is in New York City and someday I might be able to try it (its pricey though)
There is also another one below.

Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
Show: The Cooking Loft
Episode: Perfect Pasta
10 cups water
Kosher salt
3 cups elbow macaroni (preferably De Cecco brand, if available)
1 quart heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with the back of a knife
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 to 3 1/2 cups grated Gruyere
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the salt. Taste the water. It should be salty like sea water. Add the macaroni and stir, with a wooden spoon or large slotted spoon, to ensure the macaroni does not stick to the bottom of the pot as it cooks. Cook until the macaroni is still quite firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour the macaroni and water into a strainer placed over the sink. Allow the water to drain out, reserving approximately 1 cup of the liquid.

In the same pot, bring the cream, garlic cloves, and the reserved cooking liquid to a simmer. Add the mustard and 3 cups of the Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer gently, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted and has integrated with the cream. Add the Parmesan and Cheddar. Stir with a wooden spoon and simmer again until smooth. Add a splash of Worcestershire and a splash of hot sauce. Stir to blend. Taste for seasoning.

Add the macaroni to the cream and stir gently to blend. Allow the macaroni to rest on the stove, 5 to 10 minutes, so the pasta absorbs the flavors. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.

Fill a baking dish with the macaroni mixture, top with the bread crumbs, the remaining Gruyere cheese and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread crumbs crust on top. Serve immediately.

3-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy Costa Vanikiotis at Eveready Diner, Hyde Park, NY
Show: Diners, Drive-ins and DivesEpisode: Local Legends

• 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for pasta water
• 1 pound large elbow macaroni
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 3 cups milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound white Cheddar, shredded
• 4 ounces Romano, shredded
• 4 ounces Asiago, shredded
• 2 cups bread crumbs (suggested: panko (Japanese) available at most markets)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In large pot filled with water add 3 pinches of salt and the macaroni and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking until a roux or paste forms. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, all cheeses, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Cook until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally.
Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 by 9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and serve.
For variations, add cooked lobster meat, truffle oil, bacon and/or garden fresh vegetables.
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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