Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Artisanal Macaroni and Cheese

There is a reason why Kraft Mac and Cheese is in so many pantries.  It's quick and easy comfort food that's perfect for lazy or busy days ... or so I thought.  Then I came across the artisanal mac and cheese recipe developed by Terrance Brennan, the chef at the Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro in New York.  This recipe was featured on the cover of the May 2010 issue of Saveur, and the picture looked inviting. I wonder why it didn't catch attention when I flipped through the magazine for the first time. 

This recipe uses three different types of cheese and a generous panko-parmesan crust.  The cheese sauce is bubbly, and the crust become super crunchy after 30 minutes in the oven.  The combination of the cheesy pasta and the crunchy crust is irresistible!  This isn't a quick dinner, and there are more than three steps to follow, but it's worth spending one hour for this Kraft substitute.  My family and I were rewarded by the best mac and cheese we ever had.

Artisanal Macaroni and Cheese
by Terrance Brennan
Print Recipe


kosher salt, to taste
12 ozhollow pasta, preferably penne 
6 Tbspunsalted butter 
3/4 cuppanko
1 ozfinely grated Parmesan 
1/4 cupflour
3 1/2 cupmilk
4 ozgrated Gruyère (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
4 ozgrated Comté or Cantal (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
4 ozgrated fontina (about 1 1⁄2 cups)

ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until not quite al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmesan, toss to combine, and transfer to a small bowl; set aside. (EMK's note: you can melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and simply mix with the panko and Parmesan.)
  3. Wipe out the saucepan and set over medium heat. Melt the remaining butter and whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the milk and cook, continuing to whisk often, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. (EMK's note: It's easier if you add about a cup of milk first. When the mixture thickens, add another cup.) Stir in the Gruyère, 1 cup of the Comté, and 1 cup of the fontina and whisk until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and stir in the reserved pasta. Pour the mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish and top with the remaining Comté and fontina. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over the top and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6~8