I love, love, love macaroni and cheese!!! But only the homemade kind. Well, I take that back. I do like the Annie’s Brand. Their Shells and White Cheddar are my favorite. But anyway. I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to tell you that this macaroni and cheese is yum-tastic! For Thanksgiving we always have this side dish along with the other traditional things. My mom, my aunts, and even my grandma are THE best macaroni and cheese makers and what kills me is they don’t even use a recipe! Do you know how hard it is to duplicate a recipe when there isn’t a recipe to follow? Well, this may not be anything like my family recipe BUT it is just as wonderful. Only different. There’s room for two great macaroni and cheese recipes in my book. Well, technically I don’t have the family recipe…but you get what I mean. Right?
Panko Crusted Macaroni and Cheese
The bread crumbs add a little oomph to this Panko Crusted Macaroni and Cheese.
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni
- 2 c. heavy cream
- 2 c. whole milk
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 c. grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
- Course salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 baking pan.
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente 9-10 minutes. Drain.
Combine the cream, milk, and cayenne in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cheddar and Jack cheeses, and whisk until well-blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the macaroni and stir vigorously (being careful not to break the pasta). This will release starch and help to thicken the sauce. Pour or spoon pasta into prepared baking dish.
Combine the panko, parsley, and Parmesan and sprinkle over the pasta. Bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 minutes.
[My two cents]
You can use any kind of noodle you have, but my preference is elbow macaroni. That just seems right doesn't it? You could definitely lighten this recipe up a bit by using half-n-half instead of heavy cream and much less of it of course. You can also cut down the cheese and save some calories there. I probably should have done both of those - but sometimes you just want a dish with full fat!
Adapted from Newspaper clipping - "Macaroni and Cheese Recipes from Simple to Sublime" by Joan Schwartz (Villard,2001)