To bake a casserole of mac&cheese was one of my hidden dreams. Yeah, hidden…’cause i did not know I wanted to cook them, ’till the day I received this book by Martha Stewart (there she goes again lol). It is amazing to read how the American cook is a-hundred-in-one. Meaning that it is a mix of cooks from all over the world, revised and adapted by the immigrants. The result is an interpretation of different original and traditional dishes, modified and enriched.
Like Mac&Cheese. We could say this is the evolution of the Italian ‘maccheroni al forno’ (oven maccheroni). With some big differences: first, Italian Maccheroni are not the American Macaroni (totally different shape); second, a huge amount of melted cheese to add.
Honestly, the idea of mixing besciamella (the sauce you obtain mixing flour, butter and milk – which is a foundamental of French and Italian cooks) and a ton of cheese scared me a bit…but I learnt to try before judging and this time I was right. Even my dad – who is by definition not very fond of other cooks, except for the Italian one – said it tasted ‘not bad at all!’. I took it as his higher expression of satisfaction 😉
Prep Time: 25 min Baking Time: 30 min
- 6 tablespoons (85gr) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
- 5 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar or gouda
- 2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated gruyere or hemmentaler
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
2. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk (you can either use the microwave). Melt butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles (but it’s not brown yet!!), add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.