Macaroni & Cheese
Using a cast iron skillet is the key to making this right and not making a mess. What you don’t need here is salt. There is plenty in the chicken broth and cheese. This recipe works best with pipette (#86) pasta. Every company might have a different name for the pasta, but if you go by numbers, it will be a very close match to what you want. Of course you can use the traditional elbow macaroni, but I think the curves, twists and ridges of pipette pasta hold the cheese perfectly. You could try cavatapi, but I think these are too long and orecchiette or even mini shells become more about the pasta than the cheese. Pipette for my tastes works perfectly to balance both the cheese and pasta out evenly.
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cloves finely chopped and minced garlic
- 2 Ounces Flour
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Fresh Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 100 Grams Pipette Pasta (about 2/3 cup)
- 1/3 Cup Milk
- 32 Ounces Low Sodium Chicken Broth (buy the 2lb box of it, you will use most or all of it)
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Nutmeg
- Breadcrumbs (optional)
- Fresh ground black pepper (optional)
In a pot boil your chicken stock and add in the pasta and cook according to directions. It should take about 10 minutes, but remember if you don’t like your macaroni too soft, pull it out a few minutes before because it will continue to cook in the skillet and again in the oven.
In a cast iron skillet gently melt the butter and add in the flour, whisk until smooth. Add in the chicken broth and whisk until completely dissolved. Once its heated, add in the milk and again whisking until completely incorporated.
Add in your paprika, ground in some fresh whole nutmeg and whisk again.
Layer in the freshly grated cheese slowly, mixing together a small batch at a time until it is all melted. Save some of it to top it off later.
Drain your pasta and add into the skillet over low heat and continually fold the pasta inward with a non-stick spatula, wooden spoon or similar utensil. Stir and turn off the heat. Take the remaining shredded cheese and sprinkle evenly over the top. If you like breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping, gently and evenly spread those over the top as well.
Put into the oven over a broiler until the top cheese becomes melted and the bread crumbs lightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes.
While this is so rich it is best served as a side dish, many will want a whole lot of it, so no matter how you want to serve it, enjoy and please don’t ever use instant from a box again!