Did You Know? Kraft introduced its famous boxed version of macaroni and cheese in 1937. During the first year, nine million boxes were sold. Today, Kraft sells more than one million boxes of its macaroni and cheese every day.
My grandmother is here, visiting from Florida, and for as long as I can remember, her macaroni and cheese has been the meal I request most from her. She is the best cook I know, and I love when she comes to visit so I can pick her brain for ideas. When we would visit her in Florida over our Summers, she would slave over a hot stove, preparing a Thanksgiving feast in the middle of August. First introducing me to chocolate peanut butter, and always ending our days with bon bons, the memories she brings with her always incorporate delicious food. She has been the best grandmother, so I wanted to make her a special dinner after her long flight.
Racking up well over ten thousand comments web-wide, this macaroni and cheese had to be great, if not only for the fact that it's Martha Stewart's favorite. Hoping to give my Mema something as tasty as she gives me, I gave it a go, and was oh so glad I did. Known as the $40.00 macaroni and cheese around the MSO offices, you definately don't want to skimp on the cheeses here. And although I don't think it will cost you quite as much as the name implies, cheese can get quite expensive. But this is a dish for a crowd, so halve it if there's only a few in your family.
Rich, creamy, and delicious, the sharp cheeses provide so much flavor to this classic American dish. The buttery, crouton-like breadcrumbs offer a crunchy contrast to the smooth shells. I had my Dad grate the cheese for me while I started the roux, and when I turned around to see the outcome, all I could see were mountains of cheddar conceiling what once was the face of my father. So if your one of those people who like to eliminate calories wherever you can, I don't suggest you make this. This dish is for the cellulite embracers among us. Although you could put up an argument for the calcium content if you need to. But you're not kidding me.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used shells)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère; set the cheese sauce aside.
Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 3-5 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère, and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.
On another note, Happy Great American Meatout Day! Embrace your inner vegetarian, and go meat-free today!