Showing posts with label macaroni and cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label macaroni and cheese. Show all posts

Friday, February 6, 2015

Crispy Macaroni

by Sheila Connolly

A well-known chef, Gordon Hamersley, has joined our regional paper as a regular columnist, and this recipe was part of his kick-off. I wish I could say that know his restaurant, but alas, I don’t venture into Boston often just for a meal (especially since my daughter—my partner in food crime—left town for Chicago). But based on this first article, I think the chef would fit right in with our MLK gang: He starts off with a story about what inspired his recipe, and how he experimented with it before going public.

We here at MLK are careful to credit the originators of our recipes (if we didn’t make them up ourselves!), although of course we usually end up tweaking them. This recipe intrigued and challenged me—it made me want to try it. It’s not difficult, but it does take two days to complete. And when I read the part about the gelatin, my first response was, “you’ve got to be kidding? Macaroni and cheese and gelatin?” So read on and see how things turned out.

Gordon Hamersley’s Crispy Macaroni and Blue Cheese

Oil (for the pan)

Serves 6

Gelatin comes in packets of 2½ teaspoons. You need about 2 packets here. Allow enough time for the mixture to set, at least 6 hours. Plastic wrap helps the mixture release more easily from the pan.

Day One:

Vegetable oil (for the pan)

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1  tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 packets (2-1/2 tsp each)
   unflavored powdered gelatin
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tblsp chopped fresh chives
1 Tblsp chopped fresh thyme
8 oz. blue cheese, cut into cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

Oil a 9-inch square pan. Line it with plastic wrap, letting the excess hang over the edges (this makes the dish easy to remove from the pan).

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add plenty of salt. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender but not mushy. Drain, shaking it several times to make sure all the water is out of the elbows. Transfer to a bowl.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until tender and golden. Add the chicken stock and sprinkle the gelatin into the liquids. Turn the heat to low and whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Add the cream to the skillet and bring to a boil.

Pour the cream mixture over the macaroni in the bowl. Add the chives and thyme. Stir well so the cream gets inside the elbows. Add the blue cheese and pepper and stir again. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread to make an even layer. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Day Two:

1       tablespoon unsalted butter
1       cup panko crumbs
¼      cup flour, in a shallow bowl
2       eggs, lightly beaten in a shallow bowl

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to bubble. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until it is deep golden brown. Transfer to a shallow bowl and let it cool.

With a knife, mark the macaroni and cheese into in the pan into 6 squares Using an offset spatula, lift them out of the pan. [Warning! This is tricky!]

Put the panko into a pie pan or shallow bowl. Place the flour (in a bowl), eggs (in a bowl), and panko (in whatever it’s in) in a line on the counter. Dust each macaroni piece first with flour, then dip into the egg, and finally press the panko onto the surface. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

Place the macaroni squares on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a piece is hot to the touch when withdrawn. Using a wide metal spatula, carefully lift the crispy macaroni onto plates.

I did tell you this was an experiment, didn’t I? And I have to say I was not blown away by the results: the whole thing was too labor-intensive, at least the part about putting the cakes together (you try dipping slippery squares in three different coatings without them falling apart!), and I ended up with macaroni scattered all over the kitchen. Maybe it works if you have a line of experienced sous-chefs assembling the things, but not if you’re a busy home cook pressed for time and with limited counter space.

But the flavor was good (says my test panel, i.e., my husband). So here’s what I’d recommend:  Make the recipe, minus the gelatin. Put it in a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle with the panko (toasted or not—it did taste good browned). Bake in a 350-degree oven for half an hour, and dish it out with a spoon. Tastes the same, and it’s much simpler!

Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it often enough lately (or you've been living in a cave without Internet), I have a new book out this week: An Early Wake, the third of the County Cork Mysteries.

Available everywhere (I hope!), in print and e-format (and maybe even as an audiobook soon!):

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cheesy Pasta and Cauliflower #recipe @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Do you have one dish that you can absolutely not resist when you see it on a menu? For me, it's macaroni and cheese:). But sometimes when I take the leftovers home, I'm scandalized the next day to see the amount of butter/oil/fat that has congealed.

So this is my attempt to make something a little healthier, but with the same cheesy goodness that always calls to me!

Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower1/2 pound cavatappi or other spiral pasta
1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 Tsp French mustard
2 cups milk
14 ounces assorted cheese, shredded*
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese , shredded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Melt the butter, stir in the flour to make a paste. Cook this for 2-3 minutes, add the mustard and stir well. Add the milk slowly to make a white sauce, stirring until thickened. Stir in the shredded cheeses. 

Cook the pasta until almost done, about 2 minutes less than the package recommends. Break the cauliflower into florets and steam until just soft.** Mix the pasta and the cauliflower in a large bowl and set aside. 

Add the cheese sauce to the cauliflower and pasta, stir well, and place the mixture into a buttered 9 by 13 pan. Cover with panko crumbs and bake at 350 until bubbly and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.

*For this recipe I used 8 oz of sharp yellow cheddar, 2 oz sharp white, 1 oz good parmesan and a small leftover piece of fresh mozzarella. So don't be afraid to try what's in your fridge!

**This time I tried something even easier--I dropped the cauliflower florets into the boiling pasta for the last 3 minutes. 

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries:


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cheddar & Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Okay, I have to admit it's hard to photograph macaroni and cheese without some super fancy camera. All the pieces and cheese sort of blur together. You might not think this photograph is much...but I've got to tell you, this version of mac 'n cheese might be my best recipe ever.



Krista tells me that everything tastes better with bacon. And I believe her. 

So here's why, even in the middle of our hot, hot summer, I craved mac 'n cheese. I'm writing and I need mental support. And mac 'n cheese is, quite simply, comfort food to the MAX. Each bite packs a punch. Each bite sort of melts in your mouth. 

By the way, according to Wikipedia, which happens to be my go-to source for absolutely truthful information (LOL), I discovered this:

Did you know that pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded in cookbooks as early as the Liber de Coquina (which is one of the oldest medieval cookbooks)? Also, a pasta and cheese casserole known as makerouns was recorded in an English cookbook in the 14th century.  [I’ve got to get my hands on these cookbooks or at least get the chance to view them in person…road trip!!!] The casserole was made with hand-cut pasta and sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. Oh, yum!!!  This dish was considered an upper-class meal even in Italy until around the 18th century.

By the way, if you are a cookbook geek, check out this link to online versions of medieval cookbooks. If you can read Old Enlgish, you might have a shot at recreating an original recipe!  :)



2 cups dried macaroni, cooked to tender (about 4-5 cups cooked) (gluten-free or regular)
4 tablespoons butter [half a cube]
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 Tbs. rice or potato flour (for gluten-free; regular diners may use regular white/wheat flour)
1 cup milk
1 cups grated cheese (equal parts Cheddar and Gruyere or Swiss)
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and broken into bites
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
Paprika (for garnish)


Cook macaroni according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.  May be made a day ahead.  Note:  Do not forget to drain and set aside.  You do not want the pasta to be “wet.”

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic salt and pepper and cook about 2 minutes.  Add flour and stir.  Cook 1 minute more, letting boil. It will thicken. Stir constantly.

Add milk, stir and let boil to thicken.

Remove from heat and add Cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Add bacon.

Pour sauce over drained macaroni.  Sprinkle with Parmesan. Dash with paprika.

Serve with a crisp salad. 


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Say cheese!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

Hey, y'all.  Remember how I said I would be posting better-for-you recipes for a while?

Well, the best laid plans ...

A few weeks ago (before the great diet challenge began), I made this great crock pot mac and cheese from my dear friend Bethany's recipe.  Wow.  It was really, really good.

While Bethany's version was relatively healthy (emphasis on the "relatively" - it's mac and cheese!), I decided I would try to slim down that recipe, by subbing pureed butternut squash for some of the dairy and cheese.  Another friend had once served mac and cheese with roasted butternut squash cubes in it, and it was awesome.  Using the squash as a substitute sounded like a great idea.  I found several recipes online, cobbled them together, and cooked.

Holy cow.  It was bad.  I mean mega-mega-bad.  So bad I ate about three bites and then dumped the rest of the pan.  Seriously ... that bad.

I was crushed (in part because it left me without a dinner plan at 8 o'clock in the evening).

But I learned something.  You can only cut so many corners.  Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet, eat the fatty cheese, and accept that it is good.

Thus, for your dining pleasure, I bring you Bethany's Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese*, in all it's dairy goodness.  Enjoy!

* Note that Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams has another Crock Pot Mac and Cheese recipe, posted in 2010.  This one's a little different.  Not necessarily better, just different.

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

10 oz. elbow macaroni or mini penne, cooked 5 minutes in boiling, salted water

1 1/2 c. milk (2% or more)
2 eggs
1 - 12 oz cans evaporated milk (I used 2%)
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt

pinch black pepper
seasoning of choice
(I used 1 1/2 tsp. Penzey's Mural of Flavor, a salt-free general seasoning)

16 - 18 oz. shredded cheese (I used mild cheddar and mozzarella, but you can mix it up)
1/2 c. shredded parmesan

Whisk eggs and milk in a large measuring cup (or small bowl).  Add evaporated milk, melted butter, salt, pepper, and seasoning.  Whisk until combined.

Spray the inside of a crock pot with nonstick spray.  In slow-cooker, combine par-cooked macaroni with egg/milk mixture and shredded cheese (except for parmesan).  Sprinkle parmesan over top.  Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Before cooking - not terribly appetizing, right?

After cooking - delish!


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook. She also writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries under the name Annie Knox; you can follow Annie on Facebook, too!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fan Request

Her new book: ROAST MORTEM is due out August 3! You can go to Cleo's website and order the book there. She's having a contest and all sorts of fun!

On to other news.

This has been an interesting few weeks for me. Having my first book come out is an eye-opener. Fans write to me to tell me how much they like the book. {Thank you, one and all.} Others have written to tell me that they tried a recipe (or the idea of a recipe when the recipe wasn't provided) [Year on the Grill]. While others have requested a recipe not included in the recipes provided at the end of the book.

That brings me to today's blog. In Chapter 22 of The Long Quiche Goodbye, neighbors bring a potluck dinner to Charlotte's grandmother's house. I wrote that Gretel (the pastor's wife) brought Five-Cheese Mac and Cheese. A fan wrote and said she must have that recipe.

Our very own Krista Davis warned me that fans did this. She advised me to make sure I didn't include a recipe in The Long Quiche Goodbye that I hadn't made myself. But of course, not all recipes made it into the recipe section at the end. My editor chose four.
These are my five (as shared through Gretel).
So, here it is. Gretel's Five-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. The five cheeses can be anything you want them to be. I wrote on Facebook about this and received replies including Cheddar x 5!




2 cups dried macaroni, cooked to tender (about 4-5 cups cooked)
3 cloves garlic chopped
8 tablespoons butter [a cube]
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbs. rice flour
1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 cups grated cheese (equal parts Cheddars, Smoked Gouda, Parmessan, Monterey Jack, Havarti)

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. May be made a day ahead. Note: Do not forget to drain and set aside. You do not want the pasta to be “wet.”

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Add rice flour and stir. Cook 1 minute, let boil and thicken, stirring constantly.

Add milk and wine, stir and let boil to thicken.

Remove from heat and add cheeses and seasonings.

Pour sauce over drained macaroni.

Serve with a crisp salad.

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