I had one of those "Uh-oh -- one hour till dinner and I have no idea what to make" moments this afternoon. We had been at Snook's Princess Party this afternoon, so that means there wasn't a lot of food consumed by the kids (too busy playing and looking cute in their king-with-a-sword and ballerina outfits....see below):
Luckily, I discovered I had the ingredients for my favorite homemade Macaroni and Cheese. In all honesty, however, Snook's dad had made some really good mac 'n cheese for the party and I just didn't get enough. This recipe always comes together quicker than I think and it is So. Darn. Good. You can add the chipotles if your family is into that sort of thing. Today, I left them out as we have been having a few mystery tummy aches lately. Which means I give a good few shakes of Tabasco on my serving. Just the spicy tang I like.
Macaroni and Cheese With Garlic Breadcrumbs, With Chipotle and Without
Gourmet, December 1999
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 pound macaroni
2 pounds extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably white), grated
Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook garlic and bread crumbs, stirring, until crumbs are golden. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Chop chipotles.
Melt butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat, then add flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, cream, and mustard and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes.
Cook macaroni in a 6- to 7-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in white sauce, cheese, and salt to taste.
Fill a 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole with half of macaroni mixture. Stir chipotles into remaining macaroni. Spoon into another 1 1/2-quart shallow casserole and sprinkle both with bread crumbs. Bake casseroles in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
Macaroni and cheese may be made 2 days ahead, put into casseroles, cooled completely, and chilled, covered. Do not add bread crumbs until ready to bake. (Baking may take longer than 30 minutes.)