Chef John’s Crusty Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
At Mezzaluna, we serve pounds and pounds of our fabulous Crusty Baked Mac and Cheese to our catering clients. I can’t believe I’m doing this, because I vowed I’d NEVER share this recipe, but here you go. Let me know how you like it!
Butter or vegetable oil, for baking dish
16 ounces Penne pasta or elbow macaroni
½ ea Minced onion
½ cup + 1 cup for topping Sharp Cheddar, grated
½ cup Smoked Gruyere Cheese, grated
½ cup Fontina Cheese, grated
½ cup Parmegiano Reggiano grated
½ teaspoon garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika
——- Tabasco or Thai chili oil to taste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ cup Flour
½ cup Butter
1 qt. Whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or oil and 8-inch baking dish; set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta, according to package directions, for 2 minutes less than recommended on the package. Rinse pasta in cold water; set aside.
3. In a saucepan, melt butter then whisk in flour and cook until it is a pale brown roux approx. 2-3 minutes.
4. Slowly whisk in milk until no lumps appear and mixture thickens and just comes to a simmer.
5. Lightly sweat the minced onion in a little olive oil over medium-low heat, until softened and translucent. Set aside.
6. Turn heat off of roux and gradually add cheeses, spices, and Tabasco, and mix until melted. Add onions.
7. Season with salt and black pepper to taste
At this point it is ready to eat, however, you can sprinkle the mac and cheese with the remaining 1 cup sharp cheddar, then combine 1 cup panko breadcrumbs with a ½ stick of melted butter. Sprinkle over casserole and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then serve.
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