Thursday, November 12, 2009

Comfort Food-- Macaroni & Cheese

I love Macaroni and Cheese-- It's classic, simple and delicious! Sure, every cook has their favorite recipe. My Mom's Friday nite standard was made with Velveeta and tomatoes. Today, I can't believe I use to look forward to that meal.. and forget the blue boxed deal. Kraft may sell a million plus boxes of their macaroni and cheese daily--heck, why not? Aside from it's affordability and quick prep time-- I'll pass on this one too.

Everyone knows Martha has a serious following for her famous dish, and though it's tasty.. I still prefer my own. I don't make this one often, but savor every bite when I do. It's rich, creamy, cheesy and simply delicious. With the chillier days arriving, for me, a hot serving of macaroni and cheese with mushrooms, herbs and a crispy crumb top is my idea of comfort food.

Macaroni & Cheese

2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 TBLS olive oil
4 TBLS unsalted butter
2 TBLS white wine
3-4 TBLS flour
2 1/2 cups milk
3 oz fontina cheese, grated
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 oz parmigiano reggiano
3 tsp total minced thyme, rosemary & sage
panko crumbs
penne pasta
sea salt & ground pepper

While you cook your pasta, preheat the oven to 375F. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain it, but reserve a half cup of the cooking water and set aside. In a separate saucepan, add olive oil. Saute mushrooms until just browned.Add white wine and cook down until the mushrooms are beginning to carmelize. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Making the cheese sauce:

Add butter to a medium-sized sauce pan. Once melted, on low heat slowly whisk in the flour to make a roux. Whisk until all the flour is dissolved in the butter. Don't scorch this. Begin pouring in the milk while whisking continuously so there will be no lumps. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens a bit. If the sauce is too thick {it should be pourable} add the reserved pasta liquid an ounce at a time to thin. Add to the sauce all the cheeses and herbs. Stir continuously until cheese has all melted. Take the sauteed mushrooms and add these to the sauce pan. Blend well.

In a large bowl tossed the cooked penne with the cheese sauce. Season to taste and pour the macaroni and cheese into a vegetable sprayed baking dish. Sprinkle top with crushed panko crumbs and a bit more parmigiano. Bake uncovered 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly. Enjoy!


~~louise~~ said...

I'm almost afraid to admit I made Mac & Cheese once with Velveeta. Never again and as for that Blue Box, UG!

I love the addition of mushrooms and wine in your recipe. I think I got so use to making it for the kids I never think to make it the way I might like, with mushrooms and wine. Although, I do sometimes add crumbled up bacon. Thanks for the idea Jady.

Karen said...

I've never made mac & cheese! This sounds like a really good recipe with the combo of cheeses, mushrooms and wine.!