Mouthwatering Macaroni and Cheese

If you are lactose intolerant, stay away from this post at all costs.

I love macaroni and cheese. When made with quality dairy it’s tangy, buttery, and can be eaten in a wide variety of circumstances (i.e. at weddings, in bathrooms on paper plates during dreadful dinner parties, water parks, you name it). I make this particular recipe, which comes from marthastewart.com, once a year. Do I want to make it more frequently? Yes. Should I? No. Why? Because I value my arteries.

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This recipe uses three types of cheese: gruyere, fontina, and cheddar, and you can taste each one individually. This is part of what makes it so good; who wants a homogeneous bowl of cheesy pasta? (ME! I DO! But this way is even more delectable).

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Though it takes significantly longer to make this recipe than it does to crack open a box of Kraft mac and cheese, it’s definitely worth it. I refuse to say anything bad about Kraft macaroni since it has played such a large role in my life, for better or for worse. However, Martha knows what she’s doing… I’ll leave it at that.

Original Recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/853632/three-cheese-macaroni

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INGREDIENTS:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

5 cups whole milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (10 ounces)

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (4 ounces)

1 1/2 cups grated fontina cheese (4 ounces) << fontina always reminds me of the character Fantine from Les Miserables… 

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound shell pasta

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Liberally butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Warm milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the milk has started to warm, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a large (no really, the largest one you have) high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter is bubbling (but not burning!). Add flour. Cook, stirring gently with a whisk, for 1 minute.

Gradually pour warm milk into butter mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 3 cups cheddar, 1 cup Gruyere, 1 cup fontina, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente according to box instructions. Drain, and transfer pasta to cheese sauce. Stir to coat.

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Divide mixture among mini pie plates or transfer to baking dish. Scatter remaining cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Gruyere, and 1/2 cup fontina over top, and sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs.

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Bake until cheese is melted and pasta is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving- don’t want to burn your mouth on that tangy cheese!

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Enjoy!

Leslie

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