I invited the Chopping Block over for dinner, and I made her some macaroni and cheese! I also served it with some sweet carrot mash, some cornbread (with corn kernels hidden inside), and some barbecue ribs.
Recipe was adapted from the Pioneer Woman and Smitten Kitchen. This is more like a classic macaroni and cheese recipe, but you can always get fancier with some bacon or fried eggs. Almost Bourdain's macaroni and cheese has mushrooms, onions, and bacon!
1/2 stick unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
Bread crumbs (I used panko)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water (for boiling macaroni)
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme (or fresh Thyme)
1 teaspoon of seasoned salt
1 cup grated Gruyère
1-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (for sauce)
1/2 cup additional grated cheddar cheese (for topping)
8 oz elbow macaroni
1. Boil water with some salt and a dash of oil. Once water comes to a boil, throw in your elbow macaroni. You don't want to cook it all the way through since we're going to be baking it for another 20-30 minutes later. So you want it cooked on the outside and underdone on the inside. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until well combined. Heat up a saucepan, and cook the mixture for about a minute. Pour in the milk and whisk everything together. Continue to whisk the mixture until it's bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Add all your seasoning into the sauce. Whisk until well combined. Now whisk in the 1-1/2 cup of cheddar and all the Gruyere cheese until it's a nice uniform sauce (where all the cheese has melted). You want to taste your cheese sauce now to make sure you've added enough seasoning. Adjust if necessary.
4. Mix your pasta into the cheese sauce. Mix well.
5. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and enough breadcrumbs to cover the top. Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Let the mac 'n cheese rest for 5 minutes before serving.
The reason I mixed the flour and butter in a separate bowl is because I was afraid I was going to burn it, but if you're a pro at this, it's okay to do it all in the pan and skip the microwave.
Nice thick bubbly sauce (after step #2).
Creamy cheesy sauce (after step #3).
Step #4! I actually had a very high sauce to pasta ratio, so I added more pasta to it (maybe 10 oz total).
And dinner is ready!
Now you get a bunch of fatties to help you eat all this food! The "barbecue" ribs were made in the oven following this recipe. You get a really nice onion chutney after everything is baked, and you practically don't even need additional barbecue sauce!