Today was a spectacularly beautiful day in Seattle. The kind of day that makes you appreciate living in the NW and just a tad bit smug that you aren’t living in New England and bracing for the next foot of snow to drop. The sun was shining, the buds on the trees starting to awaken, and Seattle-ites out in full force enjoying every minute of it. Onca and I were no exception and enjoyed a long walk along the lake and a trip to PCC complete with Onca’s backpack so she could pull her own weight (and by own weight, I mean beer, wine, cream, and milk). It was an exhausting trip and clearly required a full nap afterward.
While Ms. Onca slept I pondered what we should have for dinner that would be worthy of this day. Having enjoyed an amazing dinner with our friends Wendy and Andy at The Walrus and the Carpenter last night I was eager to keep the creative foodie genius I’d experienced going. And clearly, nothing says creative foodie genius more than a January BBQ and Bonfire with neighborhood friends.
Matt volunteered to do burgers, and Angela claimed ribs and spinach salad, which left me with no other choice but to make a big dish of the World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese. This is based on Beecher’s famous recipe, but with a few suggested tweaks/additions, and I would challenge you to find a recipe you like more. This is certainly a treat to make since it’s so undeniably unhealthy, but as a once-in-a-while splurge there’s really nothing better.
This serves 8, but halves beautifully, or you can also make it in two smaller dishes and freeze what you like for a quick dinner some weeknight. Also, feel free to experiment a bit with the cheeses and use whatever you have in the fridge. Goat cheese is a nice addition and doing a bit of Parmesan gives it a slightly more complex flavor.
World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb penne pasta
Beecher’s Flagship Sauce (recipe follows)
1 ounce cheddar, grated ( 1/4 cup)
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated ( 1/4 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
BEECHER’S FLAGSHIP CHEESE SAUCE
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
14 ounces semihard cheese, such as Beecher’s Flagship, grated (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 ounces grated semisoft cheese, such as Beecher’s Just Jack
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
dash of hot sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil or butter a 9×12 baking dish
Cook the penne 2 minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and set aside.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chile powder, garlic powder, mustard, and hot sauce. Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.
Combine cooked pasta and Flagship Sauce in a medium bowl and mix carefully but thoroughly.
Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cheeses, chile powder, and panko. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Note: The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days.
3 responses to “Day 10: World’s Best Macaroni and Cheese”
This sounds delish!!! the chili powder does worry me though. If I don’t like chipotle should I leave it out? Also, Flagship Brand isn’t available here so what semi-hard cheese would you recommend?
Yes…if you don’t like chipotle feel free to skip that…you can obviously add any other herbs if you like. For instance, I did a dash of dill once and it was very yummy and pretty. As for the cheeses, a sharp cheddar or even extra sharp cheddar would be great. If you want to make things really easy on yourself you can get the pre-grated stuff which lets you make this in less than 30 minutes. Let me know how yours turns out!
Thanks!! I will let you know. This week it will be cold and I love comfort food like this when it’s cold so I will make it and let you know. Thanks for this recipe!!!