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Amazing Mac and Cheese recipe anyone?

Please help- want to wow my guests at an outdoor party.

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  1. I know he gets some grief around here occasionally, but as anyone who's actually dined at his restaurants can tell you, Emeril can damn-well cook. This is one of his mac and cheese recipes that I've tried and really like. It's a little odd, in that there are tater tots in it (?), but don't knock the concept until you try it. BTW, I like to add some tabasco to taste; brightens the whole thing up a bit.

    2 teaspoons butter
    2 eggs
    2 cups whole milk
    Salt and white pepper
    2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
    2 cups grated White Cheddar cheese
    1 cup ham, diced
    2 pound bag tater tots, thawed

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9 by 2-inch square baking dish with the butter. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese, 1 cup of the White Cheddar cheese, the ham and the tater tots. Mix the mixture thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      Wow, that sounds, well, horrible!

      1. re: budlit

        It's actually very tasty. Really.

        But I agree that it certainly sounds horrible.

      2. re: Bostonbob3

        Not trying to be snide, I promise :)....but does it have macaroni, or any pasta, in it?

        1. re: 4Snisl

          Holy (missing) macaroni! Forgot that "minor" ingredient.

          Yikes.

          Yeah, it has a half a pound of elbow macaroni.

          I'm turning a bright shade of red right now.

          Here's another fav Emeril mac and cheese recipe in thanks, 4Snisl.

          9 tablespoons unsalted butter
          1/2 pound elbow macaroni
          1 pound homemade-style spicy pork sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
          1 cup chopped yellow onions
          1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
          1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
          4 teaspoons minced garlic
          1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
          1/2 cup all-purpose flour
          3 cups whole milk
          1 teaspoon salt
          1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
          1/8 teaspoon cayenne
          3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
          1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
          Butter a large casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.

          Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

          In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the onions, bell peppers, and 1 teaspoon of the Essence, and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and anise seeds, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

          Melt the remaining stick of butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat until thick, 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Add the noodles, cooked sausage and vegetables, and stir well to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

          In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of cheese with the breadcrumbs and remaining 2 teaspoons of Essence. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

          Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

          Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
          2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
          2 tablespoons salt
          2 tablespoons garlic powder
          1 tablespoon black pepper
          1 tablespoon onion powder
          1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
          1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
          1 tablespoon dried thyme

          Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

        2. re: Bostonbob3

          A friend of mine from Georgia is always talking about some tater tot casserole that she makes quite often. Not sure if the addition of tater tots is a Southern thing that I as a Yankee gall just don't get or what!

          1. re: vermontpoet

            I have a friend from Alabama who makes a tater tot casserole - tater tots, cooked ground beef, cream of mushroom soup - all stirred together, topped with shredded cheese and baked. I've had it and thought it kind of bland, but I imagine that it could be modified with a homemade mushroom/cream sauce, some onions, maybe some frozen petite peas - and a couple dashes of Tobasco. The recipe strikes me as being flexible and a decent starter for a one-dish meal.

        3. This has become my "go-to" recipe for Mac & Cheese.

          Over-the-Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese
          Recipe created by Patti LaBelle

          INGREDIENTS
          1 tablespoon vegetable oil
          1 pound elbow macaroni
          8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon butter
          1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Muenster cheese (I use domestic; it's milder)
          1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
          1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
          1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack
          2 cups half-and-half
          1 cup (8 ounces) Velveeta, cut into small cubes
          2 large eggs, lightly beaten
          1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
          1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a deep 2 1/2-quart casserole.

          Bring the large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the oil, then the elbow macaroni, and cook until the macaroni is just tender, about 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain well. Return to the cooking pot.

          In a small saucepan, melt eight tablespoons of the butter. Stir into the macaroni. In a large bowl, mix the Muenster, mild and sharp Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses. To the macaroni, add the half-and-half, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese, the cubed Velveeta, and the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the buttered casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and dot with the remaining one tablespoon of butter.

          Bake until it's bubbling around the edges, about 35 minutes. Serve hot.

          2 Replies
          1. re: grampart

            The Patti Labelle recipe is excellent. It will be a huge hit.
            Haven't tried Emerils recipe, but I have dined in his restaurants. I have to say the food was excellent at the 2 places I have been to in NO.

            1. re: grampart

              I make a version of this one, with these small changes:

              make a roux first, with butter and flour. Add a tsp of dry mustard and a Tbsp of chili powder. Cook the roux for five minutes, or until it loses that flour taste. Then cut the roux with beer- like a Newcastle, or other brown but not bitter brew. Alternate the cheese and the milk (you'll need less than called for in the recipe if you've used the beer) in 1/3 cup or so increments. When the sauce is smooth and creamy, add the cooked noodles. Then top with buttered, toasted panko and put in the oven.

              If I feel like it, I will saute onions first, and make the roux on top of them.

              Also, crumble chevre at the last minute, and stir it in gently. Yummy chevre bombs!!

              Another dress it up technique? Truffle oil!!

            2. I made the Mac and Cheese from America's Test Kitchen for July 4th. It was a huge hit by kids and adults. I think the biggest difference was they use evaporated milk and eggs, made the texture so much creamier. This will be my goto recipe for m/c since you can do it baked or not and everybody wanted a copy of it.

              This links to a recipe I have been dying to try, many rave reviews. http://www.whatwereeating.com/recipes...

              4 Replies
              1. re: mbfergie

                I haven't tried the recipes, but the dishes shown on Bobby Flay's Mac & Cheese Throwdown episode looked good:

                http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_...

                1. re: markabauman

                  I saw that too. His "opponent" gets Best of Philly for her mac and cheese alot. I can't think of her name... Delilah? Anyway, it looked good!

                  1. re: cjc519

                    Delilah is correct, she has a restaurant in the Reading Terminal Market and also got Best Mac and Cheese from Oprah

                2. re: mbfergie

                  I love the Cook's Illustrated one too. My husband begs for it.

                3. Don't know if it qualifies as amazing but I like this version a lot.

                  Adapt the quantities of the ingredients to suit the volume of mac and cheese you want to make.

                  Add butter to saucepan. Sautee chopped onions, garlic and jalapeno until soft. Add lean or extra lean ground beef and brown. Add salt to taste. Add flour in an equal amount to the amount of butter initially used. Stir to coat the beef mixture. Slowly add and incorporate milk (or heavy cream if your arteries are running free and clear) until your reach the consistency of a thick pea soup. Add as much grated sharp cheddar as you like and incorporate. Once the mixture is at your desired consistency remove pan from heat. Cook elbow pasta simultaneously with preparing mixture. Drain pasta and mix everything in a large casserole. Serve as is or broil in the oven to get a nice crust. Break out the spoons and enjoy.

                  1. I think the addition of freshly grated nutmeg would change all of these concoctions from the ridiculous to the sublime (just joking!). The truth is, I haven't been slender enough to chow down on macaroni and cheese for a whole generation. If I did, though, I'd do an Alfredo version with ricotta, parmesan, and nutmeg.