10 April 2010

Macaroni & Cheese, Take Two

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was putting together some freezer meals, including Meatballs Stroganoff.  One of the other meals I made was Macaroni & Cheese.  At the last minute, I opted to try a new Mac & Cheese recipe, so I wanted to share my notes on that with you, as compared to my old standby.

A shot of my "usual" recipe - a take on Alton Brown's mac & cheese, this one has three different cheddars and is topped with buttery breadcrumbs.

For comparison's sake, here is a photo of the finished version I made this time.  This is adapted from the Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese.

Major differences between these two recipes - no breadcrumbs in the PW recipe.  I topped the PW version with bacon instead, since I had it in my fridge.  I used radiatore for this version, and I loved the way the cheese clung to every nook and cranny!  Much better than elbows, in my opinion, and this shape is stout enough to stand up to cooking in the cheese sauce without getting floppy.

Macaroni & Cheese, Version 2
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 lb. radiatore or your favorite pasta, cooked al dente
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c. AP flour
2-1/2 c. skim milk
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. cheddar, grated
1 c. mozzarella, grated
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Melt the butter in a large (I mean it, LARGE) saucepan over medium heat.    Whisk the flour and mustard into the butter and cook the roux over medium-high heat for five minutes.

Pour in the milk and whisk to combine.  Cook about five minutes, until very thick, then drop the heat to low.

In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg and 1/2 c. of the milk mixture.  Whisk vigorously to avoid scrambling your egg.  Pour mixture back into the sauce and stir until smooth.

Add cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.  Stir slowly until cheese has melted and sauce is completely combined.  Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. 

Pour into large greased baking dish (I used cooking spray), top with mozzarella and crumbled bacon, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

This dish is a crowd-pleaser that's easy to put together - comfort food at its best!

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