Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Macaroni and cheese

Being married to a country boy taught me how to appreciate comfort food. I was reminded this morning as I've been watching the Food Network and Ina, the Barefoot Contessa . . . one of my favorite FN shows. She made the most delicious looking macaroni and cheese that has a bit of a twist to it. So I thought I would share it with everyone since I forgot to do my recipe of the week.

I'm also including two macaroni and cheese recipes from Paula Deen . . . my other favorite . . . I love both of these ladies equally, I can't really say one is a favorite over the other. They share the style of comfort food . . . much like I do . . . I've also listed my basic technique for Macaroni and Cheese . . . sorry, you know I'm the type of cook who does not measure anything on my basic recipes.

Mac and Cheese

Barefoot Contessa . . . The Food Network

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Paula Deen . . . The Food Network

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (4 cups cooked)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

The Ultimate Lady's Cheesy
Macaroni & Cheese

Paula Deen - The Food Network

2 cups dried elbow macaroni (4 cups cooked)
1/3 cup grated Cheddar
1/3 cup grated Swiss
1/3 cup grated Jack
1/3 cup grated colby
1/3 cup grated Muenster
1/3 cup grated Gouda
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
Nonstick spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, bring water to boil. Season water with salt and cook macaroni until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl and while pasta is still hot add all the cheese. In a separate medium bowl, using a whisk, combine the sour cream, butter, eggs, salt, pepper, and milk and add to the macaroni mixture. Spray casserole dish with nonstick and pour macaroni mixture into the dish. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Top with additional cheese, if desired.

Gina's Macaroni and Cheese

I make my macaroni and cheese from scratch, but I don't measure anything. It is a combination of what these other ladies do . . . I guess you could use their measurements as a guide.

I make a roux of flour and butter as a base . . . add half and half (I use fat free) or milk and wisk over heat until I get the desired consistency. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste . . . add cheddar cheese (I use a medium sized package of shredded cheese) . . . stir until smooth.

Pour over cooked macaroni.

When my tomato plants yield lots of tomatoes and
I have an abundance of tomatoes, I also cut up
tomatoes into the mixture . . . yummy!!

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