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Open Kitchen

| February 1, 2013


Mac & Cheese


During the cold winter months, I think we all need comfort food, like this delicious Mac & Cheese.



Makes 6 to 8

  1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni  
  ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan  
  ½ cup all-purpose flour  
  1 quart milk  
  1 teaspoon kosher salt  
  ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper  
  pinch Cayenne pepper  
  pinch ground nutmeg  
  4 cups (about 12 ounces) sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, shredded  
  2 cups (about 8 ounces) Gruyère or Swiss cheese, shredded  
  1 cup (about 4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, finely grated  
  ½ pound pancetta, cut into ¼-inch cubes and cooked until crispy  
  2 cups Panko breadcrumbs  




  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the macaroni and return to a boil.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes less than directed by the package.  Drain the pasta well and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine ½ cup of the melted butter and the flour to form a roux.  Set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the milk, working out any lumps of roux that may form.  Add the salt, black pepper, Cayenne, and nutmeg.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to simmer and thickens.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses until well melted.  Toss in the cooked macaroni and pancetta.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish.  In a bowl, toss the Panko with the remaining ¼ cup of melted butter.  Sprinkle the Panko over the top of the macaroni and cheese.  Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and browned on top, 30 to 35 minutes.


Nathan Scott is the author of Nathan Scott’s Open Kitchen: Annual Recipes 2011
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Category: Open Kitchen

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