Prep 30 mins
Cook 20 mins
Food Network, $40 a Day, Park City, UT. Flavor depends on cheese used so be sure to use a good quality cheddar.
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 6 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1 onion, wedge studded with cloves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 1⁄8 cup diced white onion
- 1⁄8 cup small-diced carrot
- 4 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 lb extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (recommended ( Cabot)
- 4 ounces yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
- white pepper
- ground nutmeg
Bread Crumb Topping
- 1⁄2 cup grated asiago cheese
- 1⁄2 cup Japanese-style bread crumbs (panko)
- 1 tablespoon assorted chopped fresh herb, such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, and basil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, in a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the milk, clove-studded onion, thyme, and bay leaf over medium heat. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and carrot and saute until tender. Add the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it's thickened and smooth. Strain this milk mixture into a heat-proof bowl. Stir in the shredded cheeses and mix until melted. Season, to taste, with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the pasta and mix well. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a baking pan and top it with the Bread Crumb Topping. Bake the macaroni and cheese until it is warmed through. Serve immediately.
- Bread Crumb Topping:.
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
"I must love you if I made this for you" is my category for this recipe for the taste was sublime but the production was very involved; please see my rating system. The recipe apparently is a scaled down version of the restaurant-production recipe provided by professional chefs per the UK Food Network web site, which claims it cooks in 20 minutes but didn't test the recipe before posting. That was not my experience! After I started boiling water for pasta, I began preparing the sauce. Forty minutes after the pasta had cooked, I was still stirring the sauce to thicken it. I began with a medium saucepan for the milk, but realized I needed a 3-quart saucepan for that instead, as well as another 3-quart saucepan for the flour mixture which would receive the milk. I needed a 4-quart pan to cook the pasta, and a larger pan to mix the sauce with the cheese and pasta. Thank goodness I had commercial baking pans in which to bake the macaroni, which took 50 minutes to brown. My first photo shows the casserole after cooking with the stack of pans used (minus one 3-quart pan already put away). I used elbow macaroni because I needed to use what I had on hand, but next time I would use penne pasta or bow-ties to make it look as elegant as the taste warrants. I used Cabot 3-year aged (white) cheddar and generic (yellow) sharp cheddar cheeses for the sauce, and used an Asiago-Parmesan mix for the topping. I don't have an herb garden, so I used pinches of each of the dried herbs listed in the topping. Note: the ingredient listing should say "1 wedge white onion, studded with cloves". The namesake restaurant now serves a jalapeno macaroni and cheese, so consider adding a few finely chopped jalapenos when you make this labor-of-love macaroni and cheese. I will make this again because the taste was out of this world! Made for Newest Zaar tag.