Aug 18, 2012

grown-up mac and cheese


I, like every other kid to ever live, was always jealous of grown-ups.  Being a grown-up meant things like staying up past Full House, snacking without "ruining" your dinner, and getting out of flag football in gym class.

Now it means things like paying bills, drinking coffee to wake up at 5 am, and vacuuming. 

But, the good news is that it can also include fancy cheese and beer.



This is definitely a rich, cheesy mac and cheese inspired by beer cheese sauce.  It's more of a winter food, but when you've got blocks of fancy cheese in your fridge from Fresh Fork, the adult thing to do is use it before it goes bad.  It's really just responsible.


Grown-up Mac and Cheese
Makes a 9x13 tray

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour (all-purpose or white whole wheat)
  • 2/3 c milk (I used skim)
  • 1 c beer (any kind you like will do)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 13.25 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz Havarti cheese, grated
  • 8 oz gouda  cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c plain breadcrumbs
Start by bringing water to a boil in a large pot that you'll cook the macaroni in later.  In the mean time, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and allow everything to cook just about 30 seconds.  Add the milk and continue to whisk.  Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add the beer, pepper, bay leaf, and nutmeg.  Simmer everything on low, whisking often, for 15-20 minutes until thickened.

Meanwhile, once the water begins to boil, add the elbow macaroni and cook it for about 5 minutes.  Drain the macaroni and return it to the pot, tossing it with about a tablespoon of olive oil, to keep it from sticking to itself.  Once the beer mixture has thickened, remove the bay leaf, add the grated cheese and turn off the heat.  Using a spoon (a whisk will make a mess), mix the cheese in well.  Pour the cheese sauce over the prepared macaroni and mix until the macaroni is coated.

Pour the mac and cheese into an ungreased 9x13 baking pan.  Sprinkle it with breadcrumbs and when you're about ready to eat, bake it for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cover it with aluminum foil if you don't want it too brown on top.  Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5-7 days.  Do not freeze as it gets hard and crusty when reheated from frozen.










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