Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Forks & Amusement 2012
You can serve this in one large greased casserole dish or individual greased ramekins.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided, plus some for greasing the dish
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups bread crumbs, I like panko
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup flour
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cayenne pepper (more if you like more spice)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
8 oz sharp cheddar grated
8 oz fontina grated
1 lb pasta like elbows, fusilli, shells
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, add it, along with the olive oil, to the breadcrumbs and stir well.
2. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water 3 minutes less than recommended. You do not want it cooked all the way through. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
3. Combine milk, half and half, and sour cream in a bowl. Season a bit with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot or high sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, quickly add flour. Whisk well until all the lumps are gone and then cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.
5. While whisking, slowly pour milk mixture into roux. Add the bay leaves. Continue cooking, stirring and scraping the sides frequently, until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. If it seems that the bottom is burning, turn down the heat.
6. Remove pot from heat and take out the bay leaves. Stir in all the spices and the cheese and combine well. Taste to adjust seasoning. Stir in pasta.
7. Pour mixture into prepared dish(es). Sprinkle with the bread crumbs. **If making ahead, cover and refrigerate to be baked later, up to three days.
8. Bake at 375 degrees until browned on top and bubbling, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving.