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Jan 9, 2009 08:03 AM

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking for a macaroni and cheese recipe. I've never had it growing up, and I've tasted "fancy" versions in in restaurants a few times. I want to make the best macaroni and cheese for my husband next week.

Here's the catch- I keep kosher, so no Velveeta or hard to find cheeses (b/c I prob can't get them kosher). Also, I avoid milk, so if I could use unsweetened Almond Breeze it would be great. I'm not allergic, just sensitive, so I'm willing to suffer for a great mac and cheese.

Please help and let me in on the macaroni and cheese secret!

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    1. 1# macaroni (I use Barilla Pipette)
      5 Tbsp unsalted butter
      6 Tbsp flour
      1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
      1/4 tsp cayenne
      5 cups whole milk
      8 oz. monterey jack
      8 oz. sharp cheddar

      cook macaroni, in large pot melt butter and sautee onions until translucent, add flour, mustard and cayenne, whisk constantly for 2 minutes, slowly add milk whisking constantly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until thickened (about 5 min) add shredded cheeses and stir until fully melted. Fold in macaroni and pour into buttered 9x13 pan.

      Toast 2 cups panko bread crumbs in 3 Tbsp butter and spread over mac and cheese.

      Bake in a 375 oven until bread crumbs have browned. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

      1. I keep kosher as well and have used alton browns recipe with greate success - - I do make some slight changes - instead of Panko - which can be tough to find I use corn flakes and if I feel adventurous instead of the cheddar - will use a mixture of muenster and swiss -

        1. Hi cheesecake17
          I'm also kosher. First, I think you'll have trouble with the dairy aspect. You could certainly use the almond milk but a) it will alter the taste and b) there's so much dairy in the recipe, you aren't really going to spare yourself much. There are a lot of great recipes out there - the one from Lenox637 looks fairly similar to the one I use as a reference - and I find that I like my mac n cheese best when I toss in a little of the different cheeses I have at any given time. I usually use some cheddar (Cabot is labeled) +/- mozzarella +/- parmesan +/- american. Depending on what else is in the house other stuff has also made an appearance in the recipe - including gouda, swiss and monterey jack. I do not use panko; I use a good ciabatta, crusts removed, put through the processor to make fresh breadcrumbs. Technically you are supposed to toast the crumbs with butter but I never do. Occasionally I toss them on a pan with a little olive oil. Add a little salt & black pepper to the crumbs +/- seasoning of your choice (e.g. thyme, fresh parsley) and sprinkle over top of the finished macaroni and voila! Delicious. America's Test Kitchen is a good reference for this.

          3 Replies
          1. re: doc_k55

            Thanks to all of you! I think I'm going to try Lenox's recipe. Has anyone tried it with skim or 1% milk? I would like to try it with the milk, but I can't have whole milk.

            Weinstein - Kikkoman brand makes the panko bread crumbs and they have an OU or an OK. I buy them from ShopRite and Wegman's has them too.

            Doc- I like the idea to use bread instead of the dried breadcrumbs. Do you use day old or fresh bread? Does it matter?

            1. re: cheesecake17

              cheesecake17, you can easily make this with non-whole milk of any stripe. I've done it for years. As Anna Thomas, author of my guiding recipe said, there is so much fat in the cheese, you can get away with using low fat or skim.

              As far as crumbs, I love to use a whole wheat bread, fresh works fine. I break it into pieces and rub between my palms over the dish--easy way to distribute crumbs. They do not need to be buttered, they stand well on their own. I sometimes sprinkle about 1 T. parmesan over them for more flavor, but that isn't necessary.

              Try the combo of Fontina and parmesan for awondrful sharp flavor, rather than the common cheddar variety.

              The recipe I follow also calls for a generous amount of thyme and a couple of bay leaves in the white sauce, plenty of fresh cracked pepper, along with some sauteed minced onion.

              here is a recipe using rice milk, haven't tried it.

              1 cup (240mL) rice or soy milk
              2 Tbsp (30g) cornstarch
              1 Tbsp (15mL) soy sauce or 1/2 tsp (2g) salt
              Freshly ground black pepper

              likely be bland, but perhaps adding some sauteed minced onion, pinch of thyme, etc., would give it a zip. It is really just a carrier for the flavor of the cheeses. Several posters at Epicuious reported good results with a flour thicked white sauce made with low fat milk (no butter involved) to use as a base sauce ot carry other flavors.

              Please let us know how it works out.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                It doesn't matter if it's day old or fresh; you can dry the crumbs out in the oven if you wish or just use less-stale ones for the topping. I agree with the addition of Parmesan to the crumbs; I've done that too with some success.

            2. Last week, I tried the NYTimes "Creamy Macaroni and Cheese" that was published a couple years ago. It was AWESOME. The best part? No making a bechamel sauce or pre-boiling the noodles! Everything goes into the oven raw, easy as pie. And it was the best mac and cheese I've ever made.


              16 Replies
              1. re: operagirl

                Wifey made this recipe this evening. WOW it is good.

                Previously we had been using a Craig Clairborne/New York Times recipe that involved making a bechamel sauce and precooking the pasta. NO MORE!!!

                Well now our house has a new "standard recipe" for mac & cheese

                Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

                Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
                2 tablespoons butter
                1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
                2 cups milk (not skim)
                1 teaspoon dry mustard
                Pinch cayenne
                Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
                ½ teaspoon salt
                ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
                ½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked.
                1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.
                2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.
                3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
                Yield: 6 to 8 servings.


                1. re: rich in stl

                  Yay! I'm so glad you tried this recipe! Here's to spreading the no-boil-mac-n-cheese gospel!

                  1. re: rich in stl

                    I ended up making this recipe Tuesday night. My husband LOVED it and said it was the best mac and cheese he ever tasted. I used lowfat milk and cottage cheese and regular cheddar cheese. The only thing I added was panko during the last 20 min of cooking.

                    Thanks so much for the recipe!! I'm making it again next week!

                    1. re: rich in stl

                      I made this, and I too was pretty impressed! Any guesses on the calorie count?

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        Made with 2% cottage cheese and milk, full fat cheddar and unsalted butter (all Lucerne brand), 1/8 of a recipe contains:

                        391 calories
                        22 g. fat
                        562 mg. sodium
                        28 g. carbohydrates
                        1 g. fiber
                        23 g. protein

                        1. re: operagirl

                          Wow! What service! How did you do that? Would it be too much to ask what about if it's made as written? Full fat cottage cheese and milk?

                          I just noticed it didn't actually say full fat, just not skim. Ooops! And I better tell my husband about the 1/8 of a recipe part....

                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                            I'm a member of a calorie-tracking website that lets you create your own "meal" out of a database of ingredients, So I just had to plug in amounts and then divide the recipe into portions.

                            Surprisingly, switching from 2% to whole milk and full fat cottage cheese only ups the calories by about 10 per serving, all in fat.

                            If you want to know the calories of the whole casserole, just multiply my number by 8 then divide by however much you consider a serving.

                            Glad to help!

                    2. re: operagirl

                      Wow, operagirl, I've been making mac and cheese all of my life and this is the easiest ever! I admit to being a bit sceptical at first (figured it'd be good, but would it be *really* good?) but I just made it for our lunch today and it is creamy and delicious. Panko at the end gave it a nice, crispy crust.
                      A new favorite here, I'll be making it again and again. Thank you for posting!

                      1. re: fern

                        You're welcome! Man, I'm so glad you (and rich and cheesecake) tried the recipe -- it's really something how all the ingredients coalesce into a gorgeous mac and cheese without parboiling the noodles. I was also skeptical at first!

                        May I ask, what % fat dairy products did you use? I've been making it for someone who is trying to gain weight, so I've been using full fat everything. But if I made it for myself and friends, I probably wouldn't want to use full fat cottage cheese and milk.

                        1. re: operagirl

                          Hi operagirl,

                          I used 2% milk and cottage cheese. The other cheeses were full fat. I usually buy 1% cottage cheese but have been sending one of the kids to shop lately (time to learn!) so sometimes things are slightly different.

                          I'm so grateful to you for posting this recipe. Can't believe I don't have to make a sauce and boil noodles! Amazing, but true.

                          1. re: fern

                            My husband liked it so much that I'm cooking a double recipe wednesday night for his whole family! I'm going to try one with regular dairy and one with lowfat dairy- but not tell them which is which..

                      2. re: operagirl

                        Tried this recipe last night to satisfy my pregnant wife's craving. Awesome. She loved it (so did I). Thanks for the posting.

                        I did one thing different though, which I think made a difference for me. I added some goats cheese to the blender mix. Not too much - but enough to impart that extra tangy flavour. IMHO it's a good addition...

                        1. re: tochipotle

                          That sounds great! Maybe I'll try some goat cheese in the mixture next time I make it.

                          Just a note- last time I made the mac and cheese, I was at my mom's house and she didn't have a blender. I mixed the milk/cottage cheese with a large whisk in a bowl. The dish turned out great, and I didn't even have to wash a blender, just one bowl!

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            Yes! I have also done it without the blender and ended up with great results. Might be a problem with large curd cottage cheese, but small curd melts just fine.

                          2. re: tochipotle

                            Ooh, goat cheese sounds wonderful. I'll have to try that sometime!