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Chef Terrance Brennan’s Gourmet Mac and Cheese
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
7 ½ Tbs Butter, divided
¼ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Flour
3 Cups milk
2 ¼ Cups gruyere, shredded
½ Cup mascarpone cheese
¾ Cup bread crumbs
¼ Cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
salt and fresh ground pepper
Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook until it’s al dente, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
While the macaroni is boiling, slowly melt 5 1/2 Tbs of butter over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan.
Add the flour, stirring, cook together for a minute or so. Do not brown the mixture; you want a blonde roux. Add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring mixture to a boil and continue whisking. Lower heat and simmer for about five minutes until it thickens.
While the milk is simmering, combine 2 Tbs butter and the bread crumbs, and melt together in a separate pan.
Add the Parmesan cheese. This adds another layer of flavor so it’s not one-dimensional. Just cook until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.
When the milk is ready, add the mascarpone cheese. Then add gruyere cheese and whisk it in, and as soon as until it’s melted, remove from the heat. This will happen quickly because the gruyere cheese should be grated and at room temperature.
Season with salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce, mix it well, and when it’s nicely incorporated, spoon it out into a cooking dish.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the top, using your hands to pat it down to make sure it’s nice and evenly dispersed all over the surface. The topping becomes very crunchy when it bakes. Cook for about 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly.