A while back I had posted a Mac and Cheese recipe that I had made one evening with my kids (click here). Much as they loved it, I was asked to make it again recently. I decided to make a simpler version this time around. I looked around for inspiration and found Alton Brown’s recipe that I started off with (click here). Like most recipes I refer to, I used it as a guideline and made my own dish.
For one thing, while dunking huge amounts of butter assures you of a creamy taste, it almost certainly clogs the arteries and I am not going to subject my family to it. So I cut the amount of butter that was suggested. Same with cheese. Mac and cheese is not the healthiest thing to make but I was going to try and contain the damage. I also added mushrooms to the recipe because they really do add a nice flavor to the Mac and Cheese. The result was quite good even if I say so myself, though I did overcook the pasta a little. Anyway, here goes. I may be a little off the exact proportions since I was mostly winging it and did not take notes but you’ll get the idea.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 4 people)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 onion – diced fine
5-6 mini portobello mushrooms – sliced thin
1 Tbsp butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon mustard
2 1/2 cup 2% milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Cook the pasta till it is barely cooked – a little less cooked than “al dente”.
2. In a saucepan with the olive oil, saute the onion and mushrooms till the onion is starting to get translucent. Set aside.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepan, stir in mustard and flour and whisk till lumps disappear. Add milk, bay leaf and paprika.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes and discard the bay leaf.
5. Turn the heat off, add 3/4 of the cheese, the onion-mushroom mix, salt-pepper to taste and break and mix 1 whole egg.
6. Fold into the pasta.
7. In a saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of butter and mix the panko into the melted butter.
8. In a greased ovenproof casserole, add the pasta, top with the reserved cheese and the panko-butter mixture.
9. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30 minutes and you are done.