Friday, June 7, 2013

The Creamiest Macaroni & Cheese

Rainy nights like tonight are made for comfort. I've lit a fire and cozied up on the couch, but only after making the creamiest macaroni and cheese.

I made it on the stove top for my son, and will be baking the casserole portion of it tomorrow afternoon, for my boyfriend. The recipe is surprisingly easy, no roux required, and it tastes too good to be true.

Here's the recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Take a 1 lb. box of your favorite noodles (I used rigatoni) and boil. While the noodles are cooking, brown 1 cup panko bread crumbs in a pan with melted butter (about 2 T worth of butter). Once it turns golden, remove from heat, salt to taste, and add a little bit of paprika for color.

Take small casserole dish and coat the bottom of the dish with melted butter. Pour the panko over the top to form the bottom crust of the mac and cheese.

Butter fried panko coats the bottom of casserole

Once pasta is cooked, drain water and return to stove top. Add about 2 cups of freshly shredded sharp cheddar, and 6 slices of deli sliced yellow American cheese (the American cheese binds the cheddar and makes it creamy). Stir until creamy. You can add a little milk, salt, and pepper. I add about 1/4 cup milk, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

Cheesy rigatoni

Spoon cheesy pasta into the casserole dish, being careful not to disturb the panko crust. Pack it tightly to the top, then put remaining butter fried panko over the top. Take a small square of wax paper, put it over the top, and press to flatten. Discard after using.

Ready for the oven

Bake in the oven at 350* for 10 minutes. Serve warm and fresh.

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