Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

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by Joan Schwartz

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Simple and perfect, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, a classic dish that's reassuring and familiar, yet, with the addition of a bit of truffle oil or salsa, it kicks into high gear with an unexpected burst of flavor. Now, for the first time in one collection, dozens of well-known chefs, including Bobby Flay, Rocco DiSpirito, Charlie Palmer, David… See more details below


Simple and perfect, macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, a classic dish that's reassuring and familiar, yet, with the addition of a bit of truffle oil or salsa, it kicks into high gear with an unexpected burst of flavor. Now, for the first time in one collection, dozens of well-known chefs, including Bobby Flay, Rocco DiSpirito, Charlie Palmer, David Burke, Matthew Kenney, Katy Sparks, and Rick Bayless, share favorite recipes, from both their childhood memories and their award-winning restaurants. Here are recipes for Macaroni with Wisconsin Asi-ago, Baked Four-Cheese Pasta, Penne with Roquefort, Macaroni and Cheese Croquettes, Green Chile Mac and Cheese, and Chunks of Lobster Swimming in Cheesy Macaroni. While the basic concept of pasta and cheese remains the same, each recipe has its own taste and personality, blending and balancing flavor, texture, and presentation for a bold Mac and Cheese experience.

Simple enough for the novice cook yet sophisticated enough to impress the experienced home chef, Macaroni and Cheese is a fun-filled cookbook that will be enjoyed for years to come.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What a great idea a whole cookbook devoted to one of everybody's favorite comfort foods. Schwartz, coauthor of chef Bobby Flay's books, among others, collected recipes from well-known chefs around the country and added a half-dozen or so of her own. There are lots of versions of "classic" macaroni and cheese, along with recipes for what she calls "International Mac" such as Pastitsio and Rigatoni al Forno and "Mac and Cheese Today" Fontina and White Truffle Macaroni, Mascarpone and Noodle Pudding, and more. For most collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Random House Publishing Group
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Ten-Minute Mac and Cheese
Serves 3-4

Well, maybe eleven — the time depends entirely upon how long the pasta cooks. Start the cheese sauce when you put the water on to boil and it will be ready by the time the pasta is done; then combine the mezzani and sauce and ladle your creamy Mac into deep bowls. Macaroni and Cheese out the box takes longer!
Chef DuFresne, who is a purist when it comes to Mac and Cheese, prepares this minimalist classic at his downtown New York restaurant, 71 Clinton Fresh Food. He doesn’t recommend adding any salt, pepper, or spices, letting the pristine flavor of American cheese carry the dish.

1/2 pound mezzani, or substitute penne or shells
2 cups whole milk
15 slices American cheese, broken into small pieces
5 tsp. of cornstarch
2 tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs

1.Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10 to 13 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a boil. Whisk in the cheese, lower the heat to medium, and cook until completely melted.
3.In a small bowl or cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and whisk it into the milk mixture; raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until thickened slightly.
4.When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and pour it into the pot with the sauce, stirring to combine. Divide among three or four serving bowls, sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs, and serve

Greek (and Organic) Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 4-6 servings

An amazing dish with lively colors and textures, this suggests a Greek salad transformed. Chef Pouillon of Nora and Asia Nora, in Washington, DC, uses only organic ingredients here in all the food she cooks, and they are worth seeking out when you shop. Feta contrasts with the sweet, juicy tomatoes and fresh spinach, and the herbs sing of Greece.

1 pound macaroni
1/2 pound spinach, washed and stemmed
1 1/2 pounds crumbled feta cheese (about 6 cups)
2 1/3 cups whole milk
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2/3 olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped black olives
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs

1.Preheat oven to 350F
2.Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
3.Blanche the spinach: Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Have ready a large bowl of ice water and slotted spoon. Add the spinach to the simmering water (in three or four batches) and submerge it. Let it cook for about 15 seconds, remove with the slotted spoon, and plunge into the ice water. Let the spinach cool completely, drain it, and squeeze out the excess water. If the leaves are large, chop then into bite-size pieces. Reserve
4.In a blender or food processor, puree the feta cheese with the milk, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend in two batches, if necessary. This will not be completely smooth; there will be very small chunks of cheese remaining. Stir the cheese mixture into the cooked pasta, then add the minced rosemary and thyme, the garlic, red pepper flakes, olives, cherry tomatoes, and blanched spinach.
5.Place in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and the mixed herbs. Bake on the middle shelf until the pasta is heated through and the top is slightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Today’s Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 8 servings

Rick Bayless, chef and owner of Chicago’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, confesses that he grew up on the wonderful slow-baked macaroni and cheese served at his parents’ restaurant, which he calls “crusty cheese over submissive macaroni.” His adult version is creamy and a little “edgy” — with the delicious jolt of salsa.

2 cups milk
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups good-quality salsa
3 cups (3/4 pound) shredded Cheddar cheese Kosher salt, about 1 1/2 tsp.
1 pound dried pasta (elbow macaroni, cavatappi, rotini, or fusilli)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1.Fill a large pot with about 6 quarts of water and set over high heat. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, or in a glass measuring cup in a microwave, for about 1 minute. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a deep golden, about 2 minutes. Add the warmed milk all at once and continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, 4 or 5 minutes. (Whisk diligently and there will be no lumps.) Stir in the salsa, remove from the heat, then stir in the cheese, stirring until it melts. Taste and season generously with salt.
2.When the water has come to a boil, add the pasta. Stir well so no pieces stick together and boil until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce, then spoon into a serving dish. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Note: If you want a wonderful contrasting texture, spoon the macaroni and cheese into a buttered baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter and bake in a preheated 375F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until richly browned and crisp.

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What People are saying about this

David Page
Macaroni and Cheese is an ode to the best that America has to offer. Melting cheese and sublime noodles ... nothing but ooze and ahhs from us. Turn on the oven, honey! Let's grate the cheese!--David Page and Barbara Shinn, Home restaurant
Matthew Kenney
Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food?hot, rich, and delicious. I love its versatility and the fact that it can be a basic American version or can be dressed up with black truffles and the most decadent cheese for a special event. We make it at Canteen with Wisconsin Asiago.--Matthew Kenney, Commune, Canteen, and Mezze restaurants
Mark Franz
Mac and Cheese is truly one of life's staples, comfort food at its roots. This book is an intimate collection of one of life's greatest pleasures. Dig in, and show someone your love today.--Mark Franz, Farallon restaurant
Rocco DiSpirito
I can see it, smell it, taste it now... twelve years old, coming home from school, my stomach growling, mouth watering, and ripping into a box of Mac and Cheese. Combining it with anything and everything from the pantry or refrigerator, I had the perfect snack. Though the cuisine I make now may be more sophisticated than what I was making at twelve years old, I will never turn my back on Mac and Cheese.--Rocco DiSpirito, Union Pacific restaurant
Waldy Malouf
A classic that belongs in every kitchen. Beginning with childhood and going all the way through adulthood, Mac and Cheese will always mean comfort, home, and satisfaction. Who knew there were fifty-two varieties?--Waldy Malouf, Beacon restaurants

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