Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mac & Cheese with the Lounsberrys

We spent last Friday night with the Lounsberry family eating Beecher’s “World’s Best Mac & Cheese” and fawning over Jake (he is terribly cute). There was also a fair amount of time spent reminding George he is still loved with lots of petting and picture-taking. I can tell he really likes Jake and they’re going to be best friends. And because George is so extremely large, I think Brian and Christie have already managed to avoid the common fifth birthday ask of a pony.

Macaroni and cheese is one of my three favorite foods. It ties with tiramisu and good sandwiches. This particular batch came straight from the Pasta & Co. freezer (sibling company to Beecher's Handmade Cheese in the Pike Place Market), but I have made it at home in the past. I also really like the NY Times version — both recipes are posted below. Let me know if you make them and what you think!

World’s Best Mac & Cheese
Serves four as a side dish

6 ounces penne pasta
2 cups Beecher's Flagship Sauce (recipe follows)
1 ounce cheddar, grated (1/4 cup)
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil or butter an eight-inch baking dish.

Cook the penne two minutes less than package directions. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and set aside.

Combine cooked pasta and Flagship sauce in a medium bowl and mix carefully but thoroughly. Scrape the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cheeses and then the chile powder. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Let sit for five minutes before serving.

Note: If you double the recipe to make a main dish, bake in a 9x13-inch pan for 30 minutes.

Beecher’s Flagship Cheese Sauce
Makes about 4 cups

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
14 ounces semi-hard cheese, such as Beecher's Flagship, grated (about 3 ½ cups)
2 ounces grated semisoft cheese, such as Beecher's Just Jack
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add the cheese, salt, chile powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to three days.

Note: A single batch of sauce makes enough for a double recipe of macaroni and cheese.


New York Times Macaroni and Cheese
Accompanying article: Macaroni and Lots of Cheese
(Warning: This is the "creamy" recipe. Do not attempt the “crusty” recipe. It’s sick. If you choose to not heed this advice, don't call me when you break a tooth.)

Serves six as a side dish

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not low fat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked

Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use one tablespoon butter to butter a nine-inch round or square baking pan.

In a blender, puree cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


Emily said...

Both baby Jake and George are so cute (and Morgan too - he looks like a natural)! And you know me, I have a weakness for both of those mac n' cheese recipes.

Brian Lounsberry said...

That mac'n'cheese was the cheesiest! Thanks!!

Glad to see I made the photo gallery.

Emily said...

Yeah... why is dad put on the back burner? Just because there is a darling baby, cute dog and hot mom doesn't mean papa bear should be left out. I guess you'll have to do a post dedicated solely to Brian. You can start teasing it now and your Blog fan club will be anxiously waiting. :o)

Missy said...

anxiously awaiting your multiple mashed potato recipes....

Beecher's Handmade Cheese said...

Thanks for the review on our Mac & Cheese! We appreciate you taking the time and would love to thank you with a sampling of some new frozen sides we’ve been working on – all just as cheesy as our macs! If you’re interested, shoot your contact/shipping information to and we’ll drop some in the mail. We’re happy to delete your info after we ship you the goods, just let us know! Thanks again!