Sage Butter Mac and Cheese
The easiest mac and cheese ever
What? Mac and cheese again? Oh, don’t be so shocked. You obviously have no idea how much a covet macaroni and cheese. So when I saw this recipe on Food Network recently, flirting at me with it’s cheesy gooeyness, I knew I had to make it. Aida foregoes the typical béchamel – instead, the creaminess comes from mascarpone cheese and pasta water (and it’s a real time saver). The most taxing part of this recipe is the grating of the cheese – which is a breeze in my Cuisinart. The crunchy topping takes it to a higher level. Make sure to use top notch cheese, salt enough and use at least the recommended amount of sage (I undercut it a little cause my sage plant is not doing well). I halved the recipe and used a 9×9 dish – I am assuming you would need a larger one if you make the full recipe. Additionally, I went by the weights of the cheeses in this recipe, not cups.
Sage Butter Macaroni and Four Cheese
From Food Network
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
4 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 pound macaroni
3 tablespoons thinly sliced sage
6 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese
4 ounces shredded aged Cheddar
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to broil and arrange rack in top. Butter a 9 by 9-inch baking dish and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter and mix in a medium bowl with 1 cup of the Parmigiano and all the bread crumbs until thoroughly moistened; set aside.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for half the time indicated on package.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it starts to foam, add sage and cook until crisp and butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside until pasta is ready. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
Return pasta to pot and place over low heat. Stir in sage butter, reserved pasta water, remaining 3 cups Parmigiano, Gruyere, Cheddar, mascarpone, and salt, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Stir constantly until cheeses are evenly melted and the pasta looks well coated. Turn pasta into baking dish and evenly top with bread crumb mixture. Place under broiler until mixture bubbles and top is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
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This is NOT the mac and cheese described in this post. It's leftovers from Kuma's Corner - Andouille sausage and sundried tomatoes.
It’s the cheesiest!
Macaroni and cheese. Sigh.
Cheese, pasta, heavy cream. What’s not too like? As a young child, I ate Kraft dinner in the blue box maybe once a week – the spirals and the special shapes being the most coveted varieties. I carried this tradition with me through college and beyond. Today, I have converted to the Kraft Deluxe with Aged Cheddar squishy cheese. Those without low-brow tendencies may cast the first stone. For what it’s worth, I have always stated that I am a foodie, not a food snob (Taco Bell Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes are a once-a-month must in my book). But I digress. On to the good stuff.
Sometimes I actually muster enough energy to prepare macaroni and cheese from scratch. Alas, it is usually when my dear husband is out of town. Oddly enough, he doesn’t share my love for the dish. When I do get this desire, my favorite recipe is taken from Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington cookbook. This recipe not only introduced me to Aged Gouda (absolute heaven – do search it out if you have never had it) but also to making parmesan tuile baskets which were to contain the gift from the Gods. Yes my friend, the macaroni and cheese is actually served in a crunchy, salty cheese basket. Cheese on top of cheese! Oh, be still my beating heart! And a final touch is shaved truffles over top. Ok, I don’t go that far – I am not a trust-fund baby, after all. Anyway, I am not making this dish NOW, but have in the past and it is my all-time favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. Please check it out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
I’m talking tuiles here – not the aforementioned baskets (just use more cheese if you want a basket – and shape the hot cheese over the bottom of a drinking glass when cooling). These are indispensable. Use them to dress up your salads, soups, or garnish your mac and cheese.
Approx 1 oz grated parmigiano reggiano = 1 tuile (alright, maybe 1.5). Make sure to use coarsely grated parm. Will not work with powdery parm (or if you’ve used your rasp grater. Trust me on this one).
Silpat or parchment paper (or use a non-stick baking sheet)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, arrange 3 T parmesan in mounds. Gently tap the mounds to make a relatively flat circle.
Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes
Let sit one minute
Remove from baking sheet using spatula
Cool (this would be the time to shape over a drinking glass if making baskets)
The absolute best mac and cheese – Aged Gouda with Virginia Country Ham and Parmesan tuiles
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