photo from thenibble.com
I am not joking around here people. I have never posted a recipe on this blog before, but this is the best thing I have ever made in my life. I grew up in a non-cooking house. Everything I know about cooking has come to me through asking, books, or internet. I wanted to make a “fancy” macaroni and cheese for the holidays one year. I swore I would find any recipe no matter how complex, so I looked up “awards winning macaroni and cheese”. After sifting through MANY I found this one. AND IT IS THE WINNER!!! It is a lot of work, but it is totally worth it. All the cheese crating gets old. (THIS IS A HINT THAT I WANT THE CHEESE GRATER ATTACHMENT FOR MY KITCHEN AID FOR CHRISTMAS.) Maybe one year there was a chunk of my knuckle grated in for flavor – just maybe. But the end result is stunning and fancy looking. If you are worried about calorie content don’t even read the rest. It’s a once or twice a year luxury food item so let’s just call it free calories.
The link for this recipe is here, but you have to scroll down to find it. I have slightly altered it over the years to make it work better for me.
Ingredients (if I put a + that means you could use more or less to taste)
1.5+sticks of butter
Half a loaf of crusty French bread cut into ½ cubes
4 cups half and half
1 cup milk
½ cup flour
2+ teaspoons salt
1+ teaspoon pepper (I use white, but it doesn’t matter)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½+ t ground or whole red pepper flakes
½ t dried nutmeg
4 cups of sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
2 cups Swiss cheese shredded
1.5 cups Romano cheese, shredded
(I have used Romano mix cheese before if that was all I could find and it was great)
1 pound rigate noodles
I try to cut the bread the night before and leave it out to get stale. Oddly – it works and tastes better if it is stale. I also try to shred the cheese the day before. The shredding is the longest part of the process. I usually try to make Josh do it.
The next day –
Preheat oven to 325
Grease a 9/13 baking dish
Cooke the noodles per instructions, but go under the cooking time by 2-3 mins
While they are going melt 4T of butter and 1/2t of garlic powder
Pour the butter on the bread crumbs, mix well, and set aside
Once the noodles are done cooking, rinse them very well in cool water to stop them from cooking any more. Salt and pepper them to taste and set aside. Add 2T of butter. Don’t worry if it doesn’t melt in because they are too cool from the rinse. The butter will melt later.
Melt 6T butter in a large saucepan (enough to hold 10 cups) over medium heat. When butter melts, add flour. Wisk it for about one minute. Continue wisking and slowly pour in milk and half/half. Then add 1½t salt, ½t pepper, ½t red pepper, ½t garlic powder and all the nutmeg. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
this was a double batch
The recipe says to remove the pan from the heat, but I just slide it to another burner that is set to low. Then add in 3 cups of cheddar, one cup Swiss, and one cup Romano. Stir it all together. It should turn into a melty delish sauce almost immediately. Then dump in all the noodles and stir it all together. I stir it till all the noodles are totally drenched in the sauce.
Dump that mixture into your greased pan, cover it with the rest of your cheeses (mixed together), then layer on the bread crumbs.
I bake it covered till is starts to bubble, then uncover and bake till the cubes golden up a little. You will not be disappointed.