Monday, November 28, 2011

Classic Mac and Cheese -- and a Giveaway!

Hey friends. Did the soothing effect of your Thanksgiving tryptophan wear off too soon? Are you still feeling the Black Friday frazzle? Are you weeping in your Maxwell House this morning because you have to return to work after four glorious days of non-work activities? Sounds like you could use some comfort food. And your old pal Abbie has just the thing.

Mac and cheese, people. I'm talking about mac and cheese. Warm. Gooey. Good for the soul.

You're sold, right? But wait! Put down that blue box! The best comfort foods do not require powdered cheese product. This is one you can make from scratch, and it's easy. I promise.

This recipe comes to us from Cook's Illustrated, which just published a new cookbook. It's called, as you might guess, The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, and it's packed with 2,000 tested-to-work recipes. That's a lot of quality kitchen time, my friends.

If you'd like to add The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook to your collection, you can win one here. You could also give it as a gift -- to you mom, your gourmet uncle, or as an "I'm sorry" present to that little old lady you knocked down on your dash to score the last Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 at Walmart before dawn the day after Thanksgiving. I'm sure all would be forgiven. Little old ladies love to cook.

So, back to the book. If you want to win, details follow the recipe.

Classic Mac and Cheese (from Cook's Illustrated)
  • 6 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter,3 tablespoons cut into 6 pieces and chilled
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 5 cups milk
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

Pulse bread and chilled butter in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses; set aside.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until tender; drain pasta.

Melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat. Add flour, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne, if using, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, slowly whisk in cheeses until completely melted. Add pasta to sauce and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.

Transfer mixture to 13 by 9‑inch broiler-safe baking dish and sprinkle with bread-crumb mixture. Broil until topping is deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool casserole for 5 minutes before serving.

It's as easy as that, friends. Get something gooey going right now. (What, it's breakfast time? That's okay. You can make mac and cheese for breakfast. No one will judge.)


To get the recipe for classic mac and cheese and 1,999 other tasty dishes, leave a comment here telling me your favorite food to make this season and how you follow this blog. You can comment until Sunday, Dec. 4, until 11:59 p.m. EST. Winner will be drawn at random the next day.

Good luck and good cheese.


kristurkow said...

Love to make chicken and biscuits, a Cook's Country recipe, this time of year. I follow the RSS feed of your blog and always enjoy the new ideas!

Amalia said...

This mac and cheese looks so delicious! It totally a comfort food :) My favorite food to make this season is anything with pumpkin in it. I especially love to make pumpkin pie, I found this amazing recipe that I fell in love with! I follow you with Google Friend Connect :)

Michelle said...

I love to make Christmas cookies to share with friends, family, and those in need! I follow your blog through google reader.

Annie said...

Mmmm. It's a little crusty on the top top! I love when Mac and Cheese is made like that.

I like Pumpkin Roll (with cream cheese filling rolled in) during Christmas! Oh, and Brocoli Salad. That is a staple for any holiday gathering.

I follow you on my iGoogle feed.

HanaĆ¢ said...

I pretty much love cooking and baking with all sorts of warm spices like cinnamon and ginger. I follow you via Google Reader.

Nicole said...

That mac and cheese looks so good! I think I'll have to make that one. As much as I love to cook, for some reason that bright orange stuff out of the box still comforts me. Besides the mac, I love making chuck roasts this time of year. Either a classic one with potatoes, carrots and dumplings, or one braised in beef stock and red wine with mashed potatoes. Yum! I follow you on blogger and twitter.

Topher said...

A nice stir fry is my favorite. I have your site bookmarked so I follow it that way. Thanks!


zekks at yahoo dot com

Chelai said...

I love soup...any kind!

I bookmark your site and visit that way.


chelaib at hotmail dot com

Micah and Catherine said...

I love love roasting all the amazing fall/winter vegetables.

I follow via google

nicole @ iamahoneybee said...

I am looking forward to stuffed mushrooms. I only seem to make them in the winter, mostly for new years!

I follow you with google reader

LynnATL said...

Our family tradition is to make a batch of "smash" for Thanksgiving - which lasts through the holiday season.

I follow you and TestKitchen on Twitter.

And I'd love to add a copy of the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook to my collection!

PDXMadeline said...

I like to make turkey dumpling soup with the leftover turkey carcass from holiday dinners. I follow you on Twitter as well as America's Test Kitchen.

Anonymous said...

My favorite food to make this time of year is beef stew in the slow cooker.

I follow via RSS feed on my Google home page. said...

My father and I go hunting for whitetail deer the day after Thanksgiving. I returned home with a bunch of venison and am looking forward to making hearty stew with the steak.

ATK tweeted about your posting!

tstclair at gmail . com

Cindy said...

I <3 Cook's Illustrated! My fave thing to cook this season is pumpkin cookies - I eat them til I'm sick of them and can't wait until next fall to eat them again! I'm a new reader of your blog and will add it to my list of Blogger friends to follow!

Mads said...

I love making roasts and holiday cookies!

I'm here from ATK's tweet, but I will be adding you to my google reader. Thanks!

lisa said...

i love all comfort foods esp. mac and cheese. i'm new to your blog but will be bookmarking it! thanks for the chance to win. i love cooks illustrated!

DivineBread said...

I make a pumpkin pie laced with caramel and topped with an italian meringue. :)

I follow through rss and twitter

if this posted twice I am sorry, having issues ;)

pjaszewski said...

During this time, I am all about the warm casseroles. I love a cheesy vegetable casserole with cabbage, cauliflower and whatever else inspires me a the time.

I follow though RSS into Pulse on my Android. Thanks for the great blog!

yeeha234 said...

I love to bake period! When the smell of wood burning and gray days start to get a chill, I go onto bake mode, getting staples and recipes ready. This year I am looking forward to bread varieties! I love to make pies also! Passing on my skills to my twenty year old daughter this year too!
I follow you via ATK! All I want this year is the whole series of books!

yeeha234 said...

I follow you and ATK via Twitter! Sorry I ran out of room!

LarSays said...

My favorite dish to make through the winter months is Ribollita soup using a recipe I was given from friends in Florence.
Great blog, I follow on Twitter.

Linda said...

I love making cranberry orange nut bread... or cranberry raisin pie.

MikeMietlicki said...

I love to make a good soup. Make some stock and throw veggies into it.

I can make it over the weekend, then I have lunch for my week. There's no better way to keep warm.

Stefanie Trop said...

I love the ATK chewy chocolate chip cookies! I follow on twitter.

Anonymous said...

I love the show and the great tips. This Mac N' Cheese looks yummy. I love to make soup. Thanks Patricia Oh I almost forgot I follow you via GFC. yellow_patricia at hotmail dot com

sarahcoale said...

The Mac N' Cheese looks awesome! I follow this on Twitter.

BreezePlease said...

This winter: Oden (a soupy Japanese stewlike hotchpotch), with a nice Niigata or Akita sake (rice wine).

View RSS feed via Flipbook.

adriana said...


Cheryl said...

I follow you via Google Friends Connect.

My favorite thing to make this season is Pumpkin Sausage Soup. It is oh so good and it just warms me up on dreary cold days.

Thank you for the opportunity to enter my name.

Nicole said...

By the way, I made this a couple of nights ago. Delish! I think I will be eating the leftovers until Christmas! Unless you have a big family or hey, just want a ton of leftovers, I would suggest halving the recipe.