Winner of the Mac and Cheese Taste Test
About 6 months ago, E and I hosted a Macaroni & Cheese night in honor of D's birthday and the fact that P, a Singaporean national, had never had Mac & Cheese until his recent introduction to the The Cheesiest.
I made a traditional baked penne with sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and fontina, the best recipe for stove-top mac and cheese I could find on the Internet (thanks Barilla!), and I topped the stovetop version with bread crumbs and parmigiano and baked it for the third entrant.
The baked stove-top version topped with bread crumbs was a huge winner.
Best Home-Made Mac and Cheese Ever
ITALIAN MACARONI AND CHEESE (ELBOWS CON FORMAGGI ITALIANI AL FORNO)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup onion, chopped (optional) [a shallot is excellent]
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1/2 box (8 ounces) elbows
1 cup (4 ounces) Fontina cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fresh Parmigiano cheese, grated and divided
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 450F.
Melt butter in 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions/shallot; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour and salt. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add milk, stirring to blend. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add Elbows; cover. Continue to simmer over low heat for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Mixture will thicken as it cooks.)
Remove from heat. Add Fontina cheese and 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese; mix gently. Pour into 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and place in oven.
Bake in the oven until the top is browned to your liking. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.