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NY Times Crusty Mac & Cheese


Meaghan
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My first thought when I read the recipe was that the cheese would break, and become an oily mess, and low and behold:

The noodles below sweated fat, which collected unappealingly at the bottom of my earthenware dish.

I agree with heather, bechamel is not "goop."

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FWIW, my basic mac and cheese formula: for one pound pasta, make a white sauce with 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup flour, and 3 cups milk; add 12 oz grated cheese; season as you like. With cheddar cheese I'll use paprika and a bit of Worcestershire sauce. I use varying cheeses depending on mood. The other night I followed this formula using a mix of fontina, gruyere, and parmesan, with some heavy cream in place of the milk (it was Clean Out The Fridge night), and seasoned only with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The result was very alfredo-like.

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Elizabeth,

I like to add Parmesan to the top of my Mac and Cheese, but I do so half way through cooking. It forms a wonderful crust that is much more in place than bread crumbs. I also like playing around with cheese, the best I have found is an 8 year old chedder from Wisconsin.

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I propose the DonRockwell.com Crack & Cheese Bake-Shake-Greasy-Goopity-Goppity -Cook-Off.

How about $2 to enter?

Prize: A prematurely aged white Burgundy?

All money raised goes to Food & Friends?

The judges will be a panel of experts to be determined?

I'm in.

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to mac & cheese and use only cheddar with a white sauce seasoned with salt, white pepper and some cayenne. The top is sprinkled with a mixture of grated cheddar and panko. Sometimes I even mix cut up hot dogs in it before baking - my kids love that.

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Elizabeth,

I like to add Parmesan to the top of my Mac and Cheese, but I do so half way through cooking.  It forms a wonderful crust that is much more in place than bread crumbs.  I also like playing around with cheese, the best I have found is an 8 year old chedder from Wisconsin.

I like the Parm thing to, but Mr. P hates it. :) Sometimes I top with breadcrumbs. Sometimes I top that with thinly sliced tomato. I will try the Wisc cheddar - thanks!

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Alton Brown's Baked Macaroni and Cheese: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/re...6_18422,00.html

The tricks to this dish:

1. When he says finely diced, he means finely diced. I've heard people complain about it being "too oniony", and upon inquiring found out they'd only chopped the onion.

2. Double up on the panko topping.

3. If you're a mustard-head like me, a little extra is just fantastic.

4. Use a good, sharp cheddar like Cabot's Extra Sharp.

The theoretical treatment for the leftovers is to slice it up, breadcrumb-coat it again, and fry it... but I've never actually had any leftovers left after making this, so I wouldn't know how that works out. :)

Edited by Principia
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My wife hates the breadcrumb, and loves the cheese topping.

This is the Chedder that I like to use.

I toss peas into mine. Why? Because my kids eat too fast. I don't have enough time at the dinner table to pepper them with annoying questions about their day. Putting peas in there makes them slow down because the have to pick each one out individually and move them to the side of the plate. (One picks them all out first and then wolfs the rest down, the others pick as they go.) Mac&Cheese - who knew it could be an instrument for parental manipulation?

p.s. I also put crumbled bacon in mine, and a bit of Dijon mustard.

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Not traditional, but this is my favorite mac and cheese. I make it as written except I omit the jalapenos and use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground dried chipotle instead because I prefer the warmth it gives to the dish and the tomatoes add enough acidity for my tastes.

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I use the recipe from the Mueller's macaroni box. It's the best I've ever found. Needless to say, it's rather basic. The preparation of the sauce is different than other approaches I'm familiar with, and it works great. I like the idea of the cookoff.

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