If I had to choose, macaroni and cheese would definitely be my last meal. Given that, I’m surprised it took me this long to make Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe. It’s so good, Martha even uses the word perfect to describe it! It starts with a creamy béchamel sauce (white sauce with butter and flour, cooked in milk) made on the stovetop and gets its bite from sharp cheddar cheese. I think the real secret though is that it’s topped with crunchy homemade croutons (I crushed mine into breadcrumbs). Martha also nails the pasta to sauce ratio with just the right amount of cheese in every bite. So perfect mac and cheese it is then. Thank you Martha.
You might be surprised to know that I made this recipe for our Christmas dinner this year. For our first Christmas in San Francisco, away from our families, we biked to the beach and had a picnic dinner. Everything else about the day was untraditional, so macaroni and cheese fit the bill perfectly.
Feel free to cut this recipe in half. At 12 rich and delicious servings, this is the party-sized version. For the two of us, it made a mountain of leftovers, something great for Pat’s rabbit-fast metabolism but not so great for our arteries.Print
Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese
- Yield: 12
- 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
- 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 1/2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 4 1/2 c. grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
- 2 c. grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
- While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
- Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.
- Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce
- Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.
Recipe Via Martha