Monday, November 2, 2009

Fiery Mac + Cheese

I heart Macaroni + Cheese. While I have never actually submitted my recipe to any sort of competition, I do claim that this is my award winning recipe, so use in good care. I have been making this for a few years, and hardly ever change the recipe for is sooo delicious. There are hardly ever any left overs either. Creamy, Baked Macaroni + Cheese...with a fiery bite of course. ;)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Grate 1 1/2 cups each of Cheddar, Parmesan, Fontina and Gruyere Cheese and toss in a bowl to mix them up. Set aside.

I believe proper trained chefs call this a “bechamel sauce", but I just call it the goodness.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Once melted, add 4 tablespoons of flour and whisk to combine.

Let cook together for a few minutes, and then increase the heat to medium and add 2 cups of half and half. (when in a pinch I didn't have any, I have used milk to substitute and it comes out almost as delicious) Stir frequently until thickened, for about 5 more minutes. Take the pot off the heat and season with kosher salt, pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chili paste. Stir in 1 cup of grated Parmesan Romano cheese, cover and set it aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add 1lb of elbow boodles. Add salt to the water of course, and cook for 5 minutes, until the noodles are ALMOST al dente. (slightly undercooked).

Drain and return the noodles to the pot, add in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic.

Stir in the goodness from the pot that was set aside and stir to combine. (you can feast on a little bit at this point too, it is so creamy and delish you can easily serve it as a quick mac + cheese from this point without baking it).

Grease up your bakeware with butter, I was making this for a party so I had these adorable orange and black ramekins that were just enough for a crowd of 18. Place 1/3 of the macaroni on the bottom of your baking dish, and sprinkle the four cheese mixture on top. Add another layer of the macaroni and another layer of the cheese on top. On the top layer (should be cheese) sprinkle some bread crumbs on top, and some extra Parmesan cheese for good measure.

This is a spicy dish, so go ahead and sprinkle some more of those crushed red pepper flakes on top if you can stand the heat. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and hot and the top is golden brown.

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