The leaves have started turning with shades of crimson and gold. It’s about that time for steamy, satisfying comfort food and Chef Katherine Case has a recipe box full of inspiration! To start off our series on Cold Snap Survival, she picked a classic family favorite and added her gourmet touch. Appealing to the cheese lover in all of us, Katherine’s Mac & Cheese packs a flavorful punch. Your family and friends will love the creamy goodness of the rustic flavors and cheesy noodles.
From our table to yours—Bon Appétit!
Chef Katherine’s Gourmet Mac & Cheese
1 lb Penne, rigatoni or macaroni
3 Cloves garlic, smashed, with a pinch of salt and mashed into a paste
3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 T Butter, salted or sweet
4 T Flour
4 C heavy cream
1–1½ lb grated cheeses, Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gorgonzola, cave aged Gruyere, Fontina, aged Gouda, etc.
¼ t Freshly grated nutmeg
1 Heaping T Dijon mustard
S & P to taste
½ C toasted bread crumbs or crushed up croutons
4 Thinly sliced green onions, green part only
1/3 C shaved or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Boil pasta per instructions with a heaping T of kosher salt. When pasta is al dente, 1-2 minutes before recommended cooking time, drain and reserve ½ C of the pasta water.
- Pour hot pasta into a large metal bowl and toss in about ¼ C of the reserved water so the pasta does not dehydrate.
- Add extra virgin olive oil and chopped garlic. Toss until each piece is coated and let it sit until cheese sauce is ready, tossing every so often. If it ever appears to be dry or sticking together, add more of the reserved pasta water.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a 3 quart sauce pan. Avoid letting the butter brown or color at all. When foaming subsides, add 3 T flour while stirring with a wooden spoon. The roux combination should be fairly thick and stick to the spoon. If it doesn’t, add more flour.
- Continue cooking on medium heat for 2 minutes to lose the floury taste (avoid letting the roux color at all). Add 1½ C of cream, whisking briskly to make a smooth, thick sauce. Initially, the addition of the cream will make the butter seize-up, but swift whisking will smooth it out quickly.
- Add the rest of the cream when there are no hidden lumps left. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 1 more minute.
- Remove from heat and add mustard, nutmeg and the cheeses one handful at a time, stirring between additions with a wooden spoon until the cheeses are fairly well incorporated. Adjust the seasonings when all of the cheese has been added.
- Pour the sauce over the cooling pasta, reserving about 1 C of sauce.
- Pour pasta/cheese into a deep oven proof ceramic dish. Pour over the rest of the sauce, filling in holes along the edges and elsewhere. Top with the toasted bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and ½ of the green onions. Bake for 20–25 minutes at 350 degrees, until the top has browned to your liking and the internal temp is around 150 degrees.
- Let it rest for 5 minutes and serve topped with the rest of the green onions.