Prep 20 mins
Cook 50 mins
The ultimate comfort food. This recipe comes from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen. I have spent years on a quest to try different mac and cheese dishes. I'd like to find my favorite. So far this is one of the top.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 4 ounces crustless country bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta, cooked al dents and drained
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter large rectangular baking dish.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 TBS butter.
- Add flour; cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk in milk; cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in tomato paste.
- Add 1.5 cups of each cheese; stir until melted.
- Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Tear bread into crumbs.
- In small bowl, stir together bread crumbs, 2 TBS melted butter and salt.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta and cheese sauce.
- Pour into prepared baking dish.
- Top with remaining cheeses and buttered bread crumbs.
- Bake until cheeses are golden and bubbly, about 40 minutes.
- If top becoomes too dark, cover with foil.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
This recipe is a winner, a year ago while attending the wedding of my now sister in law, in the ATL. Several of us agreed to assist in providing and handling the food, in effort to help the young couple out. Even though I didn't finish Culinary School, I am usually a leading candidate to help with the cooking at cookouts, family functions and special events. I must mention that I was the only male among all the other individual identified to do the cooking. I could tell that most them came with the pre-packaged down home southern cooking skills. I was challenged to a bake the best mac and cheese, competing against two soul queens, known for their mac and cheese. I admit, that I was a little intimidated, because prior to this, I had only made mac and cheese twice. So I took to the internet surfboard, in search of the right recipe, that would help me not to look bad in the presence of so many people on this occasion . When I came across this recipe, I knew right away that it could possibly be the winning recipe. I following the recipe almost to the letter, except I had some a different combination of cheeses with the gouda. The reception immediately followed, the ceremony and the winner was announced, your truly was the people choice for best mac cheese. There was absolutely nothing left except for the aluminum pans, which there were baked in and served from. Needless to say, my competition were the winner of the most left overs for the doggie bags.
What to cook when you are in a hurry and have to get something ready for dinner? This took me about 45 minutes from the start to finish. Trinkets, please excuse me for making some subs and additions to this wonderful recipe, but I did not have all the items and also wanted to add other items. I made this for 2 servings, but used 1 1/4 cup milk instead of 7/8 cup. I used a heavy skillet to cook and bake this macaroni and I'm never going to make this any other way. Since I did not have smoked cheese, I subbed a few drops of liquid smoke and also added sliced garlic (sauteed in butter), and topped with sliced chorizo after baked. The macaroni was only cooked in boiling water for maybe 5-7 minutes (much less than al dente) and this was baked for only 30 minutes and it was perfect. For topping, I used bread cubes sprinkled with olive oil. garlic powder, and oregano instead of butter. This turned out to be the _best_ macaroni and cheese we've ever had. Thank you sooo much for posting this!