vendredi 25 juin 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

On a recent visit to France, my father and brother thoughtfully brought a third member of the family with them—a block of extra-sharp Wisconsin cheddar. The gift was greatly appreciated. Being Americans and Wisconsinites, you could say that melted cheddar runs in our blood.

French people, pretending they know everything anybody ever needs to know about cheese, snub their noses and purse their lips at this suspiciously colored, pleasantly odored, non-runny susbstance; “That’s not cheese.”

I tell them, “Hey—just because it’s orange doesn’t mean it’s not real cheese.” More cheddar and crackers for me—they can have their smelly camembert.

But you can trick a French person into liking cheddar by making it into a sauce. Specifically, in the supreme American specialty Mac N’ Cheese. That is, if you're willing to share your precious cheddar that was smuggled across customs from the US. It'd take more than one cheese fondue, in my opinion, to make up for that.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 (8-ounce) package dried elbow macaroni or favorite pasta (about 2 1/4 cups, uncooked)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)

Topping (optional):
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cook pasta, drain and set aside. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium; gradually whisk in milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in pasta, mustard, and next 4 ingredients, stirring just until cheese begins to melt.
3. Pour pasta mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with more grated Cheddar. If desired, top with fresh breadcrumbs, and drizzle evenly with melted butter.
4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

1 commentaire:

  1. Now I know why I couldn't find any yellow cheese at home. Glad you liked it. The dish looks delicious.