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Gourmet MacCheese

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Mac and cheese is more than good old fashioned comfort food when it’s made by four star chef and self described “cheese head” Terrance Brennan. Here's how he elevates macaroni and cheese to gourmet dining.
Ingredients
  Bread crumbs 3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs)
  Grated parmesan reggiano 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)
  Butter 7 1⁄2 Tablespoon
  All purpose flour 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)
  All purpose flour 2 Tablespoon
  Milk 3 Cup (48 tbs)
  Grated gruyere cheese/Grated comte cheese 2 1⁄4 Cup (36 tbs)
  Mascarpone cheese 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
  Elbow macaroni 1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)
  Salt and ground black pepper To Taste
Directions

MAKING
For the Macaroni:
1. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook until it’s al dente, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

For the Cheese Sauce - Part 1
2. While the macaroni is boiling, slowly melt 5 1/2 Tbs of butter over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan.
3. Add the flour, stirring, cook together for a minute or so. Do not brown the mixture; you want a blonde roux.
4. Add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring mixture to a boil and continue whisking.
5. Lower heat and simmer for about five minutes until it thickens.

For the Bread Crumb Topping:
6. While the milk is simmering, combine 2 Tbs butter and the bread crumbs, and melt together in a a separate pan.
7. Add the Parmesan Reggiano cheese. This adds another layer of flavor so it’s not one-dimensional. Just cook until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.

For the Cheese Sauce- Part 2
8. When the milk is ready, add the mascarpone cheese. Marscarpone is an Italian fresh creamy cheese, but it isn’t cream cheese. It is a dense, rich and slightly sweet fresh cheese. It adds another layer of flavor, and richness. It makes the saucer creamy, rich and yummy.
9. Then add gruyere cheese and whisk it in, and as soon as until it’s melted, remove from the heat. This will happen quickly because the gruyere cheese should be grated and at room temperature.
10. Season with salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Normally you don’t use black pepper with a white sauce, but Terrance Brennan loves the robust flavor and does not mind the black specks in the white sauce.

FINALIZING
Assemble The Gourmet Macaroni And Cheese:
11. When the macaroni is cooked, strain it, making sure to shake out all the water. Excess water will dilute the cheese sauce and make the macaroni too runny.
12. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce, mix it well, and when it’s nicely incorporated, spoon it out into a cooking dish. This recipe makes two main courses or four side dishes.
13. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the top, using your hands to pat it down to make sure it’s nice and evenly dispersed all over the surface. The topping becomes very crunchy when it bakes.
13. Cook for about 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly. You want a golden crust with bubbly sauce on the sides.

SERVING
14. Serve hot.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Bit Difficult
Cuisine: 
American
Course: 
Main Dish
Taste: 
Savory
Method: 
Baked
Ingredient: 
Cheese
Interest: 
Gourmet
Preparation Time: 
40 Minutes
Cook Time: 
60 Minutes
Ready In: 
0 Minutes
Servings: 
8

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