I am sick sick sick, but I thought of a pasta recipe I meant to post a couple of weeks ago, pre-Passover, so I thought I'd do it now, while I still have the strength to type. (Just barely.) And then let this pestilence begone!
Fine Cooking has many wonderful recipes on their website, but they also have a bunch of "templates" for creating your own take on classic recipes, like muffins or quiche (the full list is here). Julie mentioned to me that she had never made a proper béchamel, so I figured it was a good opportunity to make mac & cheese from scratch. The main recipe is here; you then "drag" the items you want into the "bowl," and when you're done, you click and get your own customized version of the recipe. It turned out splendid, and if you don't like our choices, go to the site and pick your own!
Macaroni and Cheese à la Julie
For the Topping:
1 small garlic clove, mashed into a paste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups coarse, fresh breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the Macaroni:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
5 ounces finely grated Monterey Jack
5 ounces finely grated sharp cheddar
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 cups bite-size broccoli florets, steamed
Make the Topping: Stir the garlic into the butter. Put the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl and drizzle the butter over the crumbs. Add a pinch of kosher salt and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. With your hands, toss well to combine. Set aside.
Make the Macaroni: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°.
Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk over low heat for 3 minutes; the butter and flour should gently bubble and froth without coloring. Slowly add the milk, while whisking constantly. Be sure to whisk around the edges of the pan to get all the lumps. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and has the consistency of heavy cream, about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and gently whisk in the Monterey Jack and cheddar. Season to taste with kosher salt. Keep warm.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 1 minute less than indicated on the package. Drain well and return to the pot.
Add the cheese sauce and broccoli to the pasta and gently stir to combine.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish and evenly scatter the reserved breadcrumbs on top. Bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.