Posts Tagged ‘Mac and Cheese’

Crispy Baked Mac and Cheese

February came in with a whirl here in Halifax, and Wednesday we got a quintessential Canadian dump: 45 cm of snow in about 12 hours. While absolutely beautiful to watch and to tramp through, it brought the city to a standstill. Bonus: I actually received my first university snow day (took me until degree two, but better late than never!)

Now instead of being a virtuous student and catch up on all my readings, I decided to do the obvious thing: wander around in the gorgeous snow and just have a lovely time. I spent about an hour or so at the student protest against high tuition fees before joining three friends for a Lord of the Rings marathon. And really, who doesn’t love Viggo? My friends, however, were scandalized when they discovered that while I am a big mac and cheese fan, I had never made a mac and cheese bake. Deciding this was unacceptable, they decided to remedy this grievance immediately with the a little help from Joy of Cooking.

I have to admit the mac-and-cheese was delicious. Creamy, steamy, cheesy macaroni with a crisp topping: the perfect comfort food. Worth the extra 25 baking minutes? I definitely think so (although if starving, likely awfully difficult to resist) – after all, who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese?


Crispy Baked Mac-and-Cheese
(6 servings)

1 onion, finely minced
6 tablespoons + 3 melted tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3 ¼ cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3 ½ cups sharp cheese, grated(cheddar is always my standby for my non-bake mac and cheese)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups macaroni
1 cup breadcrumps
Salsa, ketchup, hot sauce, thai sauce (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the macaroni to al dente. Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When translucent, add the flour and the butter browns and a nutty aroma emerges. Whisk in the milk, one cup at a time. Add the bay leaf and the Italian seasoning. Bring the béchamel to a boil stirring constantly, and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes or until nicely thickened. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, and add the cheese. When melted, mix in the cooked macaroni.

Transfer mac and cheese to a casserole dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the pasta. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Broil for 2 or 3 minutes longer or until the bake is bubbly, brown, and crispy on top.

Serve immediately with or without a sauce of your choice!

– Catherine

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