Posted on: Friday, March 20, 2009

Martha's Mac & Cheese

Martha's Mac & Cheese

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.



Martha's Mac & Cheese

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.

Martha's Mac & Cheese


Martha's Mac & Cheese
Adapted here from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics

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.

Martha's Mac & Cheese

On another note, Happy Great American Meatout Day! Embrace your inner vegetarian, and go meat-free today!

30 comments:

  1. I can't stand that boxed stuff but don't mind the homemade.

    Jalen, one of the twins, made a similar recipe with me but it did call for a bit of velveeta cheese as well. We added panko crumbs and a bit more cheese on top.

    Gonna have to give this recipe a try!
    ~ingrid

    Btw, hope you and your mema have a wonderful visit!

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  2. I saw Martha make this on her show...looks so yummy! I'm craving for some right now =)

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  3. Beautiful photo. Looks delicious!

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  4. this looks glorious - i could eat the whole pan!

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  5. I really liked this mac cheese! I had to copy the recipe! Fabulous!

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  6. My friends make this all the time, so I'm always happy when they come over with a pan full! It's my favorite!

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  7. This is one of my go-to special occasion dishes. The last time I made it was for my husband on Valentines day and I used pepper jack cheese as a sub for the white cheddar and used jalapeno bread for the top. It has now been dubbed "Grown up mac and cheese" It's a really fun recipe to play with and you can do all sorts of stuff with. I like to add fontina cheese as it melts very nicely and has a nice flavor. The Original Classics is one of my cooking bibles!

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  8. Fantastic photo! Sounds delicious! I was such a snotty kid and wouldn't ever eat my Mom's awesome mac and cheese and now I hate myself for wasting that metabolism :)

    NAOmni

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  9. This looks fantastic!I have to try this version! Now I have a hankering for it!!

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  10. I had no idea it was National Meatout Day :) I'll be sure to eat extra vegetarian. This macaroni and cheese is decadent, but the Winter seems to be waning and I doubt I can make something this heavy in the Spring (yay!!). Thanks for the recipe - I'll have to buy a Martha book one day.

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  11. This particular mac has been on my list for a while. I have a lot of the ingredients. May have to try sooner rather than later...

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  12. Great post! Love your step by step photo instructions. I like adding a nice crust as well with breadcrumbs to my mac and cheese. http://www.phamfatale.com/id_50/title_Le-Mac-and-Cheese/

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  13. I've been looking for a great Mac recipe. I'll have to give this one a try. Love the use of big bread crumbs!

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  14. you know I saw the little pic in my blogger reader and said 'don't click it, it's going to make you so hungry!' Here I am, and I'm starving. I love mac & cheese a lot acutally; so much that I will eat it cold, I don't care. To me, pata & cheese are a marriage made in heaven.

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  15. Classic comfort!! Love family-inspired recipes :-)

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  16. on top of mac and cheese must be an eastern thng. We never had that here in the Pacific Northwest. Being gluten intolerant doesn't mean I can't make this, there are great gluten free pastas out there. Thanks!! Margaret

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  17. That mac and cheese looks really good. I like the crouton topping.

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  18. I would like to know more about the chocolate peanut butter--how you make it, how you use it and everything else! Please....

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  19. I've never eaten Mac & Cheese. Looking at this I should make it because it looks so good.

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  20. Sigh. That looks absolutely dreamy. Isn't it nice to cook for people that have made us special and wonderful meals in the past? I hope you had a lovely visit with your grandmother!

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  21. Homemade is the ONLY way to enjoy mac n cheese!!! I havent tried Martha's yet but have been meaning to! well done! yum!

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  22. Mac n' Cheese is one of my favorite things to eat. I've actually never had it out of the box (I'm scared of it.) I make a version by Ina Garten that is very similar to this one using the same cheeses. But the great thing about Mac is that you can experiment with different kinds of cheeses and still come out with something magical. My sister made one for Thanksgiving out of four cheeses she found on sale that was delish! So there you go :)

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  23. That looks amazing! Seriously, mac and cheese is one of the top things I crave. I'm definitely going to try out this recipe next time I'm home.

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  24. I actually love the boxed version (*cowers in shame*). :) This looks amazing, though! Mac and cheese is my favorite comfort food.

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  25. I love mac and cheese! This looks so good!

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  26. That looks so good, I'm starving now. Your grandmother must have been very happy!

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  27. So cheesy and worth $40 dollars :)

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  28. I've not had much luck making my own mac and cheese. I love that this one uses torn pieces of bread instead of bread crumbs.

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  29. This is my very favorite Mac-N-Cheese recipe! My 8 year old daughter loves it, too!

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  30. You're not kidding when you talk about cellulite embracing... but when it comes to mac and cheese, I say go all out! This is the best recipe out there.

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