February 25, 2008

Rachael Ray - Cheddar Cheese & Macaroni

A lot of us grew up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. While I have nothing personal against it, I found the most wonderful macaroni and cheese at Harold's New York Deli & Restaurant here in New Jersey. It's perfectly creamy and cheesey and really hits the right "spot" whenever we manage to get over there for a dinner of appetizers. A little background on the restaurant for those not familiar... it's known for the over-sized portions. If you order a sandwich off of the menu, plan to share with at least 2-3 other people (possibly more if you aren't completely starved when you walk in the door). We have started just ordering an assortment of appetizers when we go since each one is served on a dinner sized plate. Favorites are the macaroni and cheese, fried clams, potato knish and the potato latke just to name a few.

In an effort to find a recipe that recreates that creamy macaroni and cheese, I went searching in Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2. Her recipe for Cheddar Cheese and Macaroni looked like it had a lot of potential when I read through the ingredients and the directions. She begins with a basic roux of butter, oil and flour. Simple enough and the addition of milk and then the cheese until it was nice and smooth produced the right amount of creaminess. After mixing in the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce, you put it in the oven to brown under the broiler for a minute or so. My husband prefers his mac & cheese crunchy and well-browned, so I would put it in for longer next time.

While the recipe was nice and easy, I think it still needs something. Perhaps a combination of a couple different cheeses would bring the flavor that just seemed a bit off from what I was expecting. My Youngest was thrilled with it, he is truly a mac & cheese lover and said this got a thumb's up. My Oldest was not impressed, but then he's not crazy about the mac & cheese in the box to begin with so I wasn't expecting him to fall in love with it anyway. I would make this again, but probably modify it a bit to see if I can reproduce the one we enjoy at Harold's.

On Friday, head on over to see what other Rachael Ray recipes have been reviewed this week at Everything Rachael Ray.


RR MacNCheese




Cheddar Cheese & Macaroni

Recipe by Adapted from Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals 2

Ingredients
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked 8 minutes or al dente to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 3 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (I used yellow cheese, couldn't find white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
  • Salt, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat a medium-sized deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts into the oil, stir in flour. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about 3 minutes.

  2. Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, a handful at a time. Season sauce with nutmeg. Taste and add a little salt, if you like.

  3. Add cooked pasta to the sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce. Transfer to a baking dish, top with remaining cheese, and place under a hot broiler for a minute to brown the top.

4 comments:

Happy cook said...

Looks creamy and delicious

Megan said...

It looks really good. In my humble opinion, you usually cant go wrong with Rachael.

Patsyk said...

Yes, I have been really happy with the Rachael recipes lately. I think this one just needs a bit of something.

Donna-FFW said...

Hi Patsy- Just wanted you to know I mentioned this dish in my latest blog post:)

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