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Best Mac &Cheese ever recipe

Analisas mom Apr 14, 2009 06:01 AM

I am looking for your all time fav Mac&cheese recipe. I want to make one that is very moist creamy and almost has like a custard texture. It does not have to be totally traditional so could be kicked up some. I would love to have all your great suggestions. I am really trying to impress a groupwith Mac &Cheese so I need help.

  1. b
    Babs Apr 14, 2009 06:40 AM

    For Easter I made the Barefoot Contessa's Mac and Cheese with Shikate and Crimini mushrooms. It was wonderful. Truly a special Mac and Cheese.
    I got the recipe on foodtv.com

    1. Jacquilynne Apr 14, 2009 06:47 AM

      I'm a huge fan of the Cook's Illustrated version from Best Recipes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jacquilynne
        bnemes3343 Apr 15, 2009 10:31 AM

        All of their recipes are great. Cook's Country did a really good mac and cheese recipe about 6 months ago; if you are a subscriber to their web site, it's availalble.

      2. folprivate Apr 14, 2009 06:53 AM

        do a search for the Stouffer's macaroni and cheeese clone recipe. It is very creamy. We kick it up some with a little Frank's hot sauce and crushed croutons on top.

        1. kpaumer Apr 14, 2009 10:26 AM

          I like Martha Stewart's recipe for Mac&Cheese the choice of cheeses make a nice blend.

          12 Replies
          1. re: kpaumer
            meganmarie Apr 14, 2009 01:18 PM

            i second this! it's ridiculously good. it's my boyfriend's favorite of ALL of the things i make. definitely creamy.

            1. re: meganmarie
              Funwithfood Apr 15, 2009 03:45 PM

              Both Martha's Four Cheese, and Ina Garten's are very good.

              1. re: meganmarie
                Full tummy Apr 15, 2009 04:12 PM

                Which one? I went on marthastewart.com, did a search, and came up with many different mac and cheese recipes. Could you provide a link?

                1. re: Full tummy
                  JasmineG Apr 15, 2009 04:56 PM

                  This one is the one that I made and can't wait to make again: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/addictive-mac-and-cheese/ (on Martha's website here http://www.marthastewart.com/article/... but that's a fun article about it). The directions aren't specific about how long to keep whisking the cheese sauce on the stove, but you want to go for at least five, up to ten or so minutes. You'll tell the difference.

                  1. re: JasmineG
                    Full tummy Apr 15, 2009 05:26 PM

                    Thanks, JasmineG!!!!!

                    1. re: JasmineG
                      amela Apr 22, 2009 04:04 PM

                      I made this last week and totally ruined the blue box for my son forever. He'll never go back again! Thanks for pointing out the MS recipe. LOVED it!

                      1. re: amela
                        JasmineG Apr 22, 2009 05:57 PM

                        So glad you liked it, it's amazing!

                        1. re: JasmineG
                          amela Apr 23, 2009 03:41 PM

                          Funny, he's 17 and for the first time ever, asked me if I could put this recipe in the "regular rotation" if it wasn't too much trouble. I didn't even know I *had* a regular rotation!

                    2. re: Full tummy
                      Funwithfood Apr 16, 2009 09:09 PM

                      Here's the recipe.....

                      Martha's Four-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
                      (Funwithfood's adaptation)

                      1 stick unsalted butter
                      1 small white onion, chopped fine
                      6 cups whole milk
                      ½ cup all-purpose flour
                      1 ½ teaspoons salt (plus more for water)
                      1 dash garlic powder, (optional)
                      ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
                      ½ teaspoon white pepper
                      1 teaspoon dry mustard
                      ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
                      6 cups Very Sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 lb), grated
                      2 cups Gruyere (or swiss) cheese (about 8 oz.), grated
                      ¾ cup Parmesan cheese (about 3 oz.), grated
                      ½ Ounce Gorgonzola (or blue) cheese, crumbled
                      1 lb. elbow macaroni
                      2 ½ cups Panko (or fresh) bread crumbs

                      Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a non-stick coating in a 9x13-inch casserole dish (or larger--the larger, the more topping per serving!) Set aside.

                      Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot milk a little at a time, whisking constantly until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 8-12 minutes.

                      Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the salt, garlic powder (if desired), nutmeg, pepper, dry mustard, cheyenne pepper, 4 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cups Gruyere (or swiss) cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesean cheese, and 1/2 Ounce Gorgonzola cheese (or blue); set mixture aside.

                      Cover a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander and rinse thouroughly in cold water. Drain well.

                      In a medium bowl, mix the Panko (breadcrumbs) with the remaining 1 1/2 cups Sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere (or swiss); set aside. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce. Spread the mixture into the prepared dish. Cover the casserole with the breadcrumb mixture, patting down lightly. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

                      1. re: Funwithfood
                        Full tummy Apr 16, 2009 10:07 PM

                        It's definitely not lacking in anything, hahahaha. Thanks so much for posting!!!! Will try very, very soon.....

                      2. re: Full tummy
                        meganmarie Apr 21, 2009 03:29 PM

                        oops didn't realize there was more than one! yes, i was referring also to the perfect mac & cheese that jasmineg posted :)

                    3. re: kpaumer
                      JasmineG Apr 15, 2009 03:53 PM

                      Yep, Martha's perfect mac and cheese is the one. I had a recipe that I loved, and then I tried this one for Easter, and it blew every other one out of the water. I think what makes hers is the long whisking of the white sauce.

                      I've also made a chipotle mac and cheese before that was great, where you add chopped chipotles in adobo to the sauce. It's great, but I'd use Martha's basic recipe and technique, and maybe play with different ingredients, cheeses, and spices.

                    4. Shrinkrap Apr 14, 2009 11:00 AM

                      This thread had some great ideas. A nice debate about custard vs. bechamel.


                      1. a
                        Analisas mom Apr 14, 2009 07:14 PM

                        Thanks I will take a look at these. Any other suggestions are welcome.

                        1. m
                          moh Apr 14, 2009 07:57 PM

                          I have been using the Joy of Cooking basic recipe with very good results. But a couple of key points:

                          1. Must use good cheese! i use a mixture of 5 year old cheddar, swiss Gruyere, Conte (if I haven't already scoffed it down), Parmesan. I'll also use Emmenthaler, Gouda, whatever good hard cheese I have in the fridge. But if the cheese sucks, then no-go.

                          2. I have found a really lovely brand of Italian pasta that works really well in this recipe. Good pasta - also key.

                          3. I doctor it up with thin slices of dry, cured duck sausage. I've also tried bits of chorizo. A few bits of fried sausage are really fabulous in this dish.

                          4. I think the breadcrumb/parmesan cheese crust is key. Just a lovely textural element.

                          1. a
                            Analisas mom Apr 15, 2009 06:16 AM

                            Has any one tried Alton Browns stove top Mac & Cheese?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Analisas mom
                              chowser Apr 15, 2009 01:12 PM

                              It's very creamy. It's similar to CI's version, only less complicated. If I don't have evaporated milk, I'll use a mix of sour cream and milk.

                              1. re: Analisas mom
                                oaklandfoodie Apr 21, 2009 12:07 PM

                                I really like Alton's Baked Mac & Cheese. It's my go-to absolute favorite. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

                                A co-worker loves a NYT recipe where you don't boil the noodles, just mix everything together and bake. It calls for cottage cheese, which I think is funny. It's ridiculously rich.

                                1. re: Analisas mom
                                  Dee S Apr 21, 2009 02:04 PM

                                  I use it. It is simple to make. I don't have evaporated milk on hand and just use milk (regular or 2% with a bit of 1/2 and 1/2).

                                  I think this recipe has been around for ages so AB and CI can't lay claim to it. I recall doing something similar when I was a kid....and that was when dinosaurs ruled the planet!

                                  1. re: Dee S
                                    chowser Apr 22, 2009 06:02 AM

                                    I don't think AB or CI ever claim to create their own recipes. CI emphasizes that it tries all the recipes out there and prints the "best" one (though that's up for debate). They might have slightly different techniques, combine ideas from different recipes but they're not creators, nor is AB.

                                2. Striver Apr 15, 2009 10:26 AM

                                  Pierre Franey's recipe is our family's favorite. Very rich, and very delicious - and based on a nicely seasoned mixture of ham, gruyere, milk, and heavy cream (and - of course - macaroni!).


                                  1. sunangelmb Apr 15, 2009 01:40 PM

                                    My mom makes Ronald Reagans favorite mac-n-cheese. She cut it out of the newspaper many many years ago. I am normally not a mac-n-cheese fan, but it is awesome!

                                    1. a
                                      Analisas mom Apr 21, 2009 06:55 AM

                                      Thanks to all od you for your great suggestions. I wanted to report on what I ended up doing as it turned out fantastic. My guest could not stop eating the dish.
                                      I started with a casarecce organic pasta. (they sell this at costco) 17.6 0z bag makes a large casserole dish. I used 3 cups of whole milk 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of heavy cream. My goal was not to be healthy but to be the best mac & cheese ever. Then I used equal parts of grated pecorino, Emmental, manchego,cheddar,Gruyere,and velvetta. Really all the pieces of cheese I had on hand that needed to be used. I melted those in the milk and cream after it was all melted I used 4 eggs and mixed in 2 TSP of flour and some black pepper. No salt as the cheese is salty. I used ritz cracker crums sauted in a little butter to top the dish then covered an baked for 1 hour last 5 min. I uncovered and let cracker crumbs brown. Wow ot was so good. We loved it. I just wanted to say also that the cheese was about 3 cups.

                                      1. h
                                        HillJ Apr 24, 2009 05:50 AM

                                        Last nights mac and cheese (made the Martha Stewart version) included marbling in freshly made basil pesto sauce. It was fantastic. The pesto add a richness to the cheese and was actually a very pretty casserole dish. I will def. try this again. To my surprise, M&C w/pesto is delicious!

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