Monday, November 11, 2013

Mac and Cheese Teet's Style

Susan R-H says of this dish, "In our house, "Mac and Cheese" is a snow day comfort food treat." Why don't you make this a snowy day dish in your house this holiday season? - 37 Cooks

Mac and Cheese Teet's Style
by Susan R-H

16 ounces DeCecco cavatappi pasta
10 ounces shredded fontal cheese
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup of combined shredded cheeses reserved for breadcrumb topping
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces Teet's Smoked Garlic Pork Sausage, casing removed, sliced 1/2 inch thick, then quartered.
6 Tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the casserole dish
1/3 cup diced shallot (small dice)
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (I prefer whole wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
4 cups whole milk, close to room temperature
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Prepare the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Shred the cheeses together, reserving 1/2 cup for the topping. Grease a "9 x 13" casserole dish with butter. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat, add the Teet's Garlic Pure Pork Sausage and sauté to release some of the smoky fat goodness. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and reserve. Increase the heat to medium and add the butter. Once melted, add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Add the dry mustard and freshly cracked pepper. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and add the cheeses, whisking until completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Add salt to taste. (Since I was using a smoked pork product, I opted to pass on adding additional salt.) Add the sausage back to the pot, along with the prepared pasta. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole.

For the topping:
6 slices of day-old bread (I used Martin's whole wheat potato bread)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup reserved shredded cheese
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle slot. In a food processor, pulse the bread slices until they are very coarse crumbs. Add the butter, reserved cheese, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour the bread crumb topping over the mac and cheese, spreading it evenly. Bake until the mac and cheese is bubbly and the topping is a nice golden-brown color, about 20-25 minutes. Allow the mac and cheese to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

See Susan R-H's original post here.

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