Well, we survived day one of Fall Break around here. I even made it through the day without hearing, “I’m bored Mom, what are we going to do today that’s fun?!” So, we’re off to a good start!
While in NYC a couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to dine at Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro with 2 nice ladies from Pillsbury, which was a complete treat!The second you step foot into the quaint restaurant, you are overwhelmed with the smell of crazy cheeses.Some may think it stinks, but something about it reminded me of being in Paris even though I’ve never been.The menu was simple yet impressive and had me drooling trying to decide what to order.I ended up ordering a Summer Vegetable Risotto that was seriously incredible. I nearly licked the bowl clean and didn’t care who was watching.I couldn’t have lived with myself had I not ordered a side of mac and cheese.We heard from numerous people that it’s the best around.Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!Buttery crispy panko bread crumbs on top and cheesy pasta goodness underneath cooked in the cutest individual baking dishes.It was by far one of my favorite mac and cheeses yet.
The best part of this post is Chef Brennan shares and even demonstrates his famous mac and cheese recipe on howdini.com for all of us to enjoy. I ended up making it 2 different times last week and it tastes identical to one I ordered at the restaurant. Talk about hitting the jackpot! Next time you need to impress some guests, break out this recipe and bring a little fine dining to your kitchen tables!
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
7 ½ Tbs Butter, divided
¼ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Flour
3 Cups milk
2 ¼ Cups gruyere, shredded
½ Cup mascarpone cheese
¾ Cup bread crumbs
¼ Cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
salt and fresh ground pepper
- 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.
- While the macaroni is boiling, slowly melt 5 1/2 Tbs of butter over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan.
- Add the flour, stirring, cook together for a minute or so. Do not brown the mixture; you want a blonde roux. Add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring mixture to a boil and continue whisking. Lower heat and simmer for about five minutes until it thickens.
- While the milk is simmering, combine 2 Tbs butter and the bread crumbs, and melt together in a separate pan.
- Add the Parmesan cheese. This adds another layer of flavor so it’s not one-dimensional. Just cook until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.
- When the milk is ready, add the mascarpone cheese. 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.
- Season with salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce, mix it well, and when it’s nicely incorporated, spoon it out into a cooking dish.
- 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. Cook for about 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly.