Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crack Macaroni and Cheese

I have spent the last few years trying to find THE best macaroni and cheese recipe.  I've come close, but hadn't quite found the one.  I scoured the interwebs, searching through culinary message boards, when I first heard it referenced... "Crack Mac and Cheese".  I blew it off the first time I saw it, but when I saw it mentioned again, my interest was piqued.  Apparently this mac and cheese was so delicious, it was more addicting than crack.  I soon discovered that "Crack Mac and Cheese" was really Martha Stewart's more classily named "Perfect Macaroni and Cheese".  (Maybe there can be some sort of happy medium for its Cocaine Macaroni and Cheese?)  I decided to make it for my family's hugely attended Thanksgiving dinner, where I would get a lot of good feedback.  Of course anything referenced as "crack" and is also made by Martha Stewart was going to be delectable, and it sure as heck was.  It was ahhhh-mazing. I had found the ONE.  My mac and cheese soulmate!  Here's my one big tip: don't be lazy with the topping.  I usually just sprinkle on some panko crumbs or crushed Ritz Crackers, but decided to go all out for Martha's sake, and by golly, it was worth the extra 5 minutes of effort.  

Crack Mac and Cheese
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 12-15

1 lb Elbow Macaroni
5 1/2 Cups of Milk
8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, divided
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
18 oz (~4 1/2 cups) Grated SHARP White Cheddar, divided
8 oz (~2 cups) Grated Gruyere, divided
1 Large Loaf of Crusty Bread, guts torn into 1" pieces


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease (I used butter) a 3 quart casserole dish. 

2.  Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil.  Add the macaroni noodles and cook until one minute shy of al dente.  Drain in a colander and set aside.

3.  In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat.  Don't let it boil, but make sure it's hot. 

4.  In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Once the butter boils, immediately add the flour.   Whisk constantly for one minute.  

5.  Slowly add the hot milk to the butter-flour mixture, just a cup or so at a time, whisking constantly.  Once all added, continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes.  

6.  Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in all the seasonings, 3 cups of the white cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups of the gruyere cheese.  Mix until completely smooth, and then stir in the macaroni noodles.  Spoon the mixture into the greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle on top the remaining 1 1/2 cups  of white cheddar and 1/2 cup of gruyere cheese.

7.  In a medium bowl, toss together the 1" pieces of crusty bread guts and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Once evenly coated, spoon the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese.  

8.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the bread on top has turned golden brown.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. more tip.  Use the sharpest white cheddar you can find! I used Cracker Barrel's Aged Reserve White Cheddar.

1 comment:

  1. This is my go to Mac and Cheese recipe as well. SO GOOD!