January 27, 2012

Indulgent Macaroni and Cheese

I consider myself a healthy eater so most of my favorite recipes don't start with twelve ounces (yes twelve ounces!) of cheese. Every once in a while though I like to indulge in some comfort food and since I grew up as a vegetarian my number one comfort has always been some bubbly macaroni and cheese. My rule about food is that I try to make most of it myself from scratch so that even if it's fattening, I know it's coming from real food and not fillers. Who knows if it works but I feel pretty good eating this mac and cheese... no guilt here!

Macaroni and Cheese: adapted from Linda (my food mentor!)

for the bechamel sauce:
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 2 1/2 c milk
  • peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt
for the dish:
  • 3 c bechamel sauce (above)
  • 1lb pasta
  • 4oz parmesan
  • 12 glorious oz grated fontina (or cheddar or really most other cheeses)
  • 1 c buttered bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Boil water and cook pasta, set aside. Tie the herbs and spices in cheese cloth and steep in the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat stirring frequently.

Mince the onions and saute with the butter until they're very soft. Stir in the flour and cook two to three minutes. Stir in the hot milk and whisk until smooth.

Grate the cheeses (to make grating easier freeze the cheese for twenty minutes before grating) and set aside.

Butter a casserole dish and layer 1/3 of the cooked pasta, 1/3 of the fontina and parmesan, and spoon 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat using all of sauce and cheeses. Mix bread crumbs with melted butter and sprinkle over the casserole.

Bake at least 20-30 minutes until golden brown at 350 degrees.

I like to serve this dish with a green salad to balance the richness of the cheese. I'm enjoying some leftovers for lunch and it's delightful. Little Smith has rejected every pasta I've given him but never met a cheese he didn't like so I thought this would be perfect...

Nope, not a hit. He'll stick to black bean and peas thank you!


  1. This looks amazing. And how you make some peppercorns and a bay leaf look like jewelry is pretty amazing too! Funny that Little S doesn't like pasta- Oliver won't eat it either. Must be a texture thing?
    Anyway, I am stalking your blog. I love how you have been doing such consistent posts. I truly look forward to seeing what you're up to every day.

  2. Thanks so much, I've been enjoying it just as a project for myself but it's fun to have other people check in! As for the photos I'll confess that I do take a lot to get the ones I want. My husband makes fun of me wondering why we need a dozen pics if cheese :)

  3. Oh my goodness! That last picture is adorable!!