Friday, February 1, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese

Somehow, despite being a big fan, I haven't made macaroni and cheese since I was cooking things out of boxes with powders. And there is a special place in my heart for ye olde Kraft macaroni and cheese. But for a couple years, I've been intending to make a more grown-up version of it, with bechamel or some such sauce. The arrival of the Ruhlman cookbook helped spur me on to actually do it.

The sauce is fairly complex. There's some caramelized onions and shallots, five or six different spices, fish sauce, and sherry -- and probably two or three ingredients I'm not remembering. It's pureed, then tossed with the pasta and some cheese, covered in more cheese and butter-soaked panko, then baked. (Yeah, it's not a low-calorie dish). For the cheese, I used a blend of cheddar and parrano.

It ended up less creamy than I was expecting. Not a bad thing, just different. It was definitely cheesy, and removing the covering halfway through baking gave the top a nice crispiness. I was surprised (though I shouldn't have been) by how much it made; more than enough for my wife and I for dinner, with four containers of leftovers for lunches this week. This is going to be a great dish for potlucks.

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