Monday, September 12, 2011
Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese
I have to admit, I was so excited about The Pioneer Woman's show premiering on Food Network that the first episode was a massive letdown. It wasn't the show's fault. It's just because I had built my expectations up to epic proportions...like Ed McMahon knocking on my door or waking up to double D's.
Now that the initial disappointment has passed I am utterly hooked. How could you not be? I mean it's too good to be true (full disclosure - part of me still believes PW is a fictional creation of the media. Home schooling 4 kids while maintaining the most popular food blog of all time AND writing cookbooks AND making your family dinner every night while professionally photographing it AND looking cute as all get out... Self doubt, anyone?)
Anyway it prompted me to make her mac and cheese for my most recent family gathering. I get a little giddy when I get to make an old fashioned recipe that can feed an army. My nephews and niece are all over 5'7" and they're all under 17 (I'm 5'4" on a tall day) so they can MOW THROUGH SOME FOOD. And I love it.
Cheers to family. And to old fashioned recipes. And to the pioneer woman.
Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese
* mildly adapted
Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 8 as a meal, 12-14 as a side dish
4 cups Dried Macaroni (1 lb box)
1 whole Egg, beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
3 teaspoons Dry Mustard
1 pound sharp cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated if possible
3/4 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt (OLD BAY is what I use)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. DO NOT LET IT BURN.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth. Add in all the cheese besides a half cup and stir to melt. Add salt, seasoned salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and/or seasoned salt as needed. DO NOT UNDER SALT. Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.