I have heard that Martha Stewart’s macaroni & cheese is, perhaps, the best macaroni & cheese in the world. Feeling ambitious, I decided to give her mac cheese a try in our house because, goodness, what do we have to lose?
If there is one thing that I am madly in love with it is a good macaroni & cheese recipe. I have tried many, but very few are creamy enough or have that flavor that I really love in a good macaroni. Rarely do I make the homemade stuff, but even rarer do I find a homemade macaroni worth making.
For my birthday this past year, we hit a local tapas restaurant to indulge in some gourmet food. Listed among these tiny bites of deliciousness was a side of macaroni & cheese. Since it was my birthday, I selected this side for our meal and I think I ate the entire bowl all by myself. It was mac & cheese perfection and I have been thinking about it ever since.
If ever a recipe stacked close to my new restaurant favorite, it is this one. A bit more labor intensive than I would typically love on a weekday, I set out to make homemade croutons for topping, fought with my food processor to grate the cheese, made a roux, and simmered a cheese sauce.
It wasn’t the easiest dish I made.
It certainly created a lot of dishes.
I am no Martha Stewart, that is for sure.
But it tasted like heaven.
It was the perfect macaroni & cheese.
It was worth the effort.
Please try it, I believe you will agree. This is the mecca of macaroni & cheese. Perfectly creamy, oh, so cheesy, a perfect blend and merriment of flavors, a gift from Above.
Add it to your Thanksgiving menu and I promise it will not disappoint. I cut the recipe in half for our family meal, as the full recipe creates 12 generous portions, but a full tray of this would be perfect for your holiday feasting.
Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese
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 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 or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
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, stirring, 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, 8 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 (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); 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, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (though we needed a bit more time to get it brown, but your oven may vary). Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serving Size: 12
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics, Inspired by Smitten Kitchen