Monday, January 12, 2009
Mascarpone Macaroni and Cheese
Last week I made a recipe for baked tortellini that called for mascarpone cheese. I had never had/cooked with mascarpone before but I loved the tortellini. However, I am now left with about 2 cups of this cheese that needs to be used asap! I looked up recipes that use mascarpone and discovered this recipe for macaroni and cheese. I did make many changes to this recipe, I will note them below. I used what I had on hand to make this which resulted in changing the quantities/types of cheese. I should also say I used more macaroni and less milk/cheese and it was still SO cheesy and creamy! This was amazing and will be my go-to recipe for macaroni and cheese when entertaining. It is VERY high in fat so I wouldn't make it routinely but it was definitely a winner in our house.
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni(I used 3/4 of a box of Gemelli)
7 ½ Tbs Butter, divided (I used 4 tablespoons total)
¼ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Flour
3 Cups milk (I used 2 1/4 of 2%)
2 ¼ Cups gruyere, shredded (I used 1 cup of sharp cheddar and 3/4 of a cup of parmesan)
½ Cup mascarpone cheese
¾ Cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
¼ Cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
salt and fresh ground pepper
Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook until it’s al dente.
While the macaroni is boiling, slowly melt the butter over medium high heat in a medium sauce pan.
Add the flour, stirring, cook together for a minute or so. Do not brown the mixture; you want a blonde roux. Add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps. Bring mixture to a boil and continue whisking. Lower heat and simmer for about five minutes until it thickens.
While the milk is simmering, combine 2 Tbs butter and the bread crumbs, and melt together in a separate pan. Add the Parmesan cheese. This adds another layer of flavor so it’s not one-dimensional. Just cook until the butter is melted. ( I didn't do this- I just sprinkled the panko on top in an effort to use less butter)
Remove from heat.
When the milk is ready, add the mascarpone cheese. Then add the remaining cheese and whisk it in, and as soon as until it’s melted, remove from the heat. This will happen quickly because the other cheese should be grated.
Season with salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce, mix it well, and when it’s nicely incorporated, spoon it out into a cooking dish.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the top, using your hands to pat it down to make sure it’s nice and evenly dispersed all over the surface. The topping becomes very crunchy when it bakes. Cook for about 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown and bubbly.