Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fancy Mac and Cheese

Last night I got to have a super lovely time with some of the ladies in my life.  My best friends Katie, Hillary, Jill, and Tara came over and we had a good old sleepover.  We watched movies, played silly games like MASH and True Destiny and just had a great time.  It was much needed.  This morning, after I write this, Katie and I are planning on decorating the house rather obnoxiously for the birthday brunch we are having this morning for our friend Alyson! She just got back from Australia and while she couldn't come last night, she can come for breakfast, so we are going all out! I baked a Berry Brunch Cake, decorations are on their way, and we are going to celebrate!

But first, I need to share the rest of the main course from The Dinner Party.  For the vegetarians out there (Brian and Katie), we made a Fancy Mac and Cheese.  It was really yummy and Chris has this little trick of sprinkling crushed BBQ potato chips on the top to add a little smoky-ness while keeping it vegetarian! So creative!

Fancy Mac and Cheese

1 lb pasta
5 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
5 cups cheese mixture (Choose from Cheddar, Gruyere, Fontina, Mozzarella, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Colby, Munster, or Manchego)
3/4 cup parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cloves garlic, smashed, but left whole
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
BBQ Potato Chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a casserole dish with butter.
2. Cook the pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the milk on a low heat with the thyme sprigs and smashed garlic.  Do not boil.
4.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes to a make a roux, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming.
5. Strain the garlic and thyme from the milk.  Whisk the milk into the butter and flour mixture.  Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and is smooth, about 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese mixture and continue to cook until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and season with the mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
6. Coat the pasta with the cheese mixture and pour into the casserole dish.  Bake for about 20 minutes.
7. After 20 minutes, add the parmesan to the top and crushed BBQ Potato Chips.  Continue to bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is on top is melted.
Enjoy :)