MAC!

It’s basically a rule that if a restaurant has mac and cheese on its menu, I’m going to order it. Sometimes it’s hard to replicate restaurant food at home, but that is not the case here! This classic baked macaroni and cheese recipe from Martha Stewart will not let you down. I’ve made it for years, and while I generally don’t discriminate against any form of mac and cheese, this is definitely the baseline against I measure any other version, because it’s so good.

I’m writing this up as the halved recipe. My major issue with making the full size version is not the massive amount of food  it makes (I love that) but the fact that it’s like $20+ worth of cheese in a single dish. The halved version makes enough for four individual ramekins (the restauranty way to serve it) or a small dish.

Mac and Cheese

1/2 pound (about two cups uncooked) elbow macaroni
3 slices of white bread, sliced into 1/4 inch cubes (I used scali bread)
5 tbsp butter, divided
2 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
9 oz (4 1/4 cups) freshly grated sharp white cheddar
5 oz (1 1/4 cups) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Serves 4.

Grate all the cheese and slice the bread into cubes ahead of time. Butter 4 ramekins or a 1 1/2 quart pan. Preheat the oven to 375°.

Cook the macaroni according to package instructions for 3 minutes less than the instructions. This will ensure the macaroni does not end up overcooked by the time it is finished baking. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp of the butter and drizzle over the bread cubes in a small bowl. Toss to coat each bread cube in butter. Set aside.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is hot, but do not bring to a full boil.

In a deep skillet, melt the remaining 3 tbsp of butter over medium heat. When the butter begins bubbling, sprinkle with the flour. Stir together and cook for one minute. Slowly add the hot milk to the skillet, whisking the mixture constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens. Add the cheddar cheese and 1 cup of the Pecorino Romano cheese and stir together until the cheese fully melts and the mixture is smooth. Add the nutmeg and the pepper, tasting to achieve the desired flavor. Then add the macaroni and stir to combine.

Split the macaroni and cheese into the four ramekins. Top the ramekins with the remaining Pecorino Romano cheese and the bread cubes.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.

Yield