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Recipes // Main Dish Pasta // Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

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By "MasterChef Junior" Winner Alexander Weiss

Serves 6 (as an entree)  

10 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz rigatoni, or hollow pasta
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 small shallot, minced.
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups grated comte or asiago cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups grated italian fontina cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: sliced baby heirloom tomatoes for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and heavily salt it. Drop the pasta in the water and immediately put a lid on the pot to bring the boiling temperature back up. Boil the pasta for 6-8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta, set aside to cool.
  2. In a large pot, melt 3 tbsp of the butter. Add the shallots and season with pepper and the nutmeg. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots are lightly caramelized. Add the flour and combine until very pasty. Add the milk and heavy cream and whisk together. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk this mixture often while cooking it. Once thickened, add all of the cheese, but leaving a few tablespoons of each for later to top. Whisk this and take of the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a small pan, and add the parmesan cheese as well as the panko. Stir to combine and toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Pour this mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all in a huge mound; you do not want to spread this out thin. Mix the remaining cheese together, then sprinkle on top. Sprinkle the panko topping on evenly, not leaving one crumb off! Place the sliced heirloom tomatoes on top if you desire. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

MasterChef Junior Winner Alexander along with Judge Graham Elliott and MasterChef Winners Luca Manfe and Christine Ha will be setting sail on a MasterChef Caribbean Cruise, Nov. 8-15! More information and tickets available at www.MasterChefCruise.com  

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