Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bleu Macaroni and Cheese

I first made this dish for Thanksgiving dinner 2 years ago. It was a minor disaster (equivalent to a small California earthquake)! I don't mean the flavors were a disaster, they were great, it was more of the proportions that were "off," to say the least.

Long story short: the recipe I followed said to use 2 cups of macaroni to serve 2 people. I quadrupled the recipe in order to serve it as a side dish at my big family Thanksgiving dinner. Does anyone know how much 8 cups of macaroni is once you cook it? It's probably enough to feed the entire population of Wyoming for about a week...

Needless to say that we had WAY to many noodles, not enough sauce, and nowhere to put it! However, I didn't realize the noodle sauce ratio would be off until after I mixed it all together and filled up 6 casserole dishes with the macaroni.

Conclusion: Flavor= fantastic; Proportions = disagreeable

ANYWAY: we figured that the recipe must have meant 2 cups cooked macaroni, not 2 cups uncooked macaroni... either way I still think that would have been too many noodles... I have fiddled with the proportions and come up with this: a good noodle sauce ratio that makes ONE casserole dish of gourmet macaroni and cheese.

What you'll need:
2 3/4 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)
3 cups whole milk
8 oz. Gruyere cheese
6 oz. Sharp White Cheddar
4 oz. Bleu cheese (I love a great Roquefort)
pinch of nutmeg
4 Tbl. butter
4 Tb. flour
salt and pepper to taste
breadcrumbs and dried basil for topping

Warm the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. In the meantime use the butter and flour to make a roux (melt butter and sprinkle in flour and cook for a few minutes until lump free and doesn't smell like flour any more--should be golden colored). When milk is simmering, add the roux and thicken to a saucy texture. Add in the pepper and nutmeg for flavor (don't add salt until after you've added cheese... you probably won't need any).

When the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the monstrous pile of cheese that you've convinced your family to grate up. Stir in until incorporated and smooth. Pour the sauce over cooked noodles in a baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and basil over the top before baking.

Bake for 30-45 min at 400 degrees or until the cheeses are bubbling and the top is crispy and browned. It wont need the full 45 minutes unless you refrigerate it overnight before cooking...could be done as soon as 20 min. Just watch for bubbly cheese!

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