Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's Cheeeeese and Macaroni

I know, I'm lame. I can't help it. So, here's the fun post where I go on and on about how delicious this was, and then at the very end I tell all about what my secret ingredient is to make this the best macaroni and cheese in the entire universe. Sadly, (or maybe it's a good thing) I stuffed myself silly on mac 'n cheese and brownies so I'm not really feeling the loquacious rambling. I'd much rather stretch out on the sofa and read the new issue of Gourmet that just arrived.

So, the secret ingredient to my macaroni and cheese is.....cinnamon. I know. Shocking. Trust me. It's delicious. If you don't believe me, next time you make your own just sprinkle a touch of cinnamon over the top. You'll be blown away by the flavor explosions taking place in your mouth. You can thank me later with extravagant gifts. I take cash, checks, and KitchenAid stand mixers.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large, or 2 small, garlic cloves, minced
14 oz medium cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup butter + 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (I used fat free)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sea salt and pepper
1 lb macaroni (Or whatever. I like to use this as a catch-all dish to use up the little bits of left over pasta. This time I used shells and elbow macaroni.)

1. Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and preheat the oven to 375 F. While waiting for the water to boil chop the onion, mince the garlic, and shred the cheese. (I hate shredding cheese, so I usually just chop it up into little cubes. It's easier for me, since I don't own a food processor.)

2. In a small sauce pan melt the butter and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the 1/4 cup flour and stir well. Allow to cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir until smooth. Add the rest of the milk slowly while stirring to avoid flour lumps. Ta da, onion bechamel.

3. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, stir 12 oz. of the cheese into the bechamel a little bit at a time, waiting for cheese to melt after each addition. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cinnamon.

4. Drain the pasta, return to pot. Add the cheese sauce, mix thoroughly. Pour into casserole/gratin dish. Top with a smattering of breadcrumbs, chop up the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and place over the breadcrumbs, and then top all with the remaining 2 ounces of cheddar. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.


Kristin said...

The MiL just brought home a FIVE POUND block of cheese, so the time might be right for some mac and cheese. Except it's extra-sharp cheddar, which I do not so much dig for mac and cheese--too sharp and grainy. Then again, my mom used to use Velveeta, so what do I know?

Sweet Bird said...

Hey, use the sharp cheddar for half and then use your MiL's homemade mozzarella for the rest. Hell, that sounds so tasty I might try it myself.

Nina said...

I use nutmeg in mine. Delish. I also prefer to use white cheeses.