Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Marja Vongerichten's Mac and Cheese

I have a not-so-secret-secret.  I have a horrible Mac and Cheese addiction.  I'm a bit of a mac and cheese floozy the truth be told.  I may have mentioned how much I love cheese once or twice or ten million times, and yet I still do not make my own mac and cheese... until now.  And this mac and cheese is enough to make me a one pasta girl.  If you're going to do a basic dish you might as well do it right.  And what better recipes are the ones thta are right (i.e. yum-tastic), and soooooooooooooooo easy.  Here we go..... weigh and cook some pasta.

Grate some nutmeg.  I used to always leave out the nutmeg from recipes, and now I like it.  I don't know if it's the process of getting older or the process of switching to fresh nutmeg... maybe a little of both.

Mix together some ridiculously fatty, and creamy ingredients like heavy cream, whole milk, half and half, and lots o'cheese.

Combine the two parts

Throw in your favorite casserole/baking dish type thing, top with cream cheese... yeah if you're on weight watchers you can't stop reading now.  This will take up your entire week's worth of points.

Bake for 5 minutes, then smear the cream cheese... mine did not want to smear.  I don't know if I just cut them chunks too big, or if it was because I was using cheap cream cheese because all the good stuff was gone at the grocery store. I added another 5 minutes and tried again, still to no lucky, but next time I will just make the pieces smaller and call it day... no smearing.

Here is where I went to lay down for a nap, so my husband took the pasta out for me so no photo there.  Anyway... I split it at this point and put half in the freezer.  The other half got a small shaving of gruyere (not in the recipe), then broiled until it turned golden.... YUM.

Maybe the name Marja doesn't ring any bells but I would hope the name Vongerichten might ring a bell.  As in Jean-George... big restaurant guy... no?  Get out this minute.  Okay maybe just to go to the grocery store to buy your weight in cheese so you can make this.  We have half the batch frozen for after the baby comes.  Come on little baby, you need to come so we can dig into the mac and cheese stash!   

Marja’s Mac and Cheese

Food and Wine


3/4 pound elbow macaroni
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni for 3 minutes (it will still be very chewy). Drain the macaroni and return it to the pot. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss well.

Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the half-and-half, milk, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and the macaroni. Spread the mac and cheese in the prepared baking dish and scatter the cream cheese cubes on top.

Bake the macaroni for 5 minutes. Using the back of a large spoon, spread the melted cream cheese cubes evenly over the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, until bubbling.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the mac and cheese about 3 inches from the heat source until richly browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 and up to 20 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

The assembled mac and cheese can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking, or add 15 minutes to the baking time.

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