And what better comfort food than macaroni and cheese? I felt so good about the success of my last attempt that I thought I would see if I could improve upon it.
And I believe I did. And it came about kind of by accident. Isn't that how most good things happen? After I decided I wanted to make it, I bought some gruyere cheese, but after I got it home I realized I hadn't bought enough. I didn't want to wait and I certainly did not want to have to go back to the store right then, so I took stock of what cheese I already had in the refrigerator. Thanks to coupons, I actually had quite a bit of mozzarella, some of which was even grated from the last pizza I made. I also had a sizable chunk of pecorino Romano. I no longer remember why I bought that, but it seemed to me that the milder mozzarella would add a smoothness to the nutty richness of the gruyere, and the pecorino would add a sharp bite to finish off the effect.
And as good as my earlier mac and cheeses have been, this was by far the best. It was rich and smooth and full of flavor, and the mozzarella added a lightness that kept it from being too rich.
Adding butter and cheese to the bread crumb topping seemed like overkill to me, so I decided to use just the breadcrumbs. They absorbed enough fat from the cheese and the sauce so I will do it that way from now on.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes
THREE CHEESE MAC AND CHEESE
Makes 4 side servings
1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 recipe basic cheese sauce, made with grated gruyere cheese (recipe here)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 Tbsp bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Grease a 1-1/2-quart baking dish.
Cook the pasta 1 to 2 minutes less than package directions and put in a mixing bowl. Stir in a scant tablespoon of cold water to keep the pasta from sticking.
Prepare the cheese sauce and add it to the pasta along with the grated mozzarella and pecorino cheeses, stirring it together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. Combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 30 minutes to brown the cheese and breadcrumb mixture.
Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (www.mountain-software.com)