Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mozzarella Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a classic !
Those of you who know Ina Garten - Barefoot Contessa might have actually either cooked this dish yourselves or have seen her do it in one of her TV shows.
Then if you do not know what I am talking about, then listen up: this is NOT the regular American mac and cheese that I have seen so far.
I used penne rigate

as my all time favorite, even though Ina used cavatappi

and also I did not have truffled butter, just plain ol' non salted butter.
To be honest with you, truffles make me sick as their shape makes me think of a blob of.....um....you can imagine probably. (Yes, I do know they are the most expensive ingredient in the world -roughly $500/lb- and I couldn't care less for them.)
Now let's get to work and see what I did.

1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP oil (use olive oil if possible)
1 can of mushrooms or 1 cup dried mushrooms

2 TBSP sherry wine
some kosher salt
1/2 lb pasta
2 TBSP butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
dash of pepper
1/2 cup Panko crumbs

Start by reconstituting your dried mushrooms if that is what you are using.

What I did with my dried mushrooms was to rinse them in cold water then let them sit in hot water for 45 minutes.

Then blanched them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

After this, they were ready to use as any other fresh or canned mushrooms. I just sliced them.

Then continue by choosing your pasta - weigh it and set aside while you bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Place the pasta in and let boil until al dente.
Drain and set aside to later combine with the sauce.
Heat the 1 TBSP butter and 2 TBSP oil in a skillet or small saucepan, add the mushrooms and cook on medium heat for approx 5 minutes, then add the sherry and cook for 3 more minutes, so that the sherry is absorbed.

Set aside.
Heat the milk and keep it close to you.
In another saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour, cooking then for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly and add the hot milk while still whisking.

You should have a sauce that is thick and creamy by the time the milk is incorporated.
Turn the heat off and add the cheese, salt and pepper.
In a large bowl combine the pasta, mushrooms and sauce and then pour in your baking dish of choice.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Top with the bread crumbs and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until nicely golden on top.

Serve either hot or at room temperature.

You can omit the mushrooms altogether or substitute them for anything else you might like in your mac & cheese....like BACON !

Enjoy !


  1. yum yum...

    And bacon makes everything taste better. This is a great recipe, nice additional touches from the original

  2. Thanks !
    This is the link to the original recipe I got inspired by.