Have you ever tasted Martha Stewart's Macaroni & Cheese? It is by far the best macaroni and cheese that I have ever met. It beats out all other restaurants and homemade recipes that I've tried. Martha's recipe is my go-to comfort meal for when it's cold outside and all I want to do is cuddle up and watch Bravo marathons. Luckily, I have enough self control to only have these self-indulging days a few times out of the year (but in all honesty, I could eat this everyday if no one was looking). It's not summer yet which means there are still a few cold days ahead that will enable me to make this delicious dish again! Martha's recipe is flawless - you can change out any of the cheeses and still have a scrumptious meal. I like to alter things here and there, like adding a bit of garlic to the bread crumbs and making sure that every square inch of macaroni touches the bread pieces. I am telling you, the bread is where it's at. As you can tell, this recipe is flexible, so use what you have in the fridge/pantry and get cookin'! All that's left to do is finding what time the "It's a Brad Brad World" marathon will be on. Goodness, I love that Brad Goreski!
Note: *Items are optional & not a part of the original recipe
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. *Add fresh minced garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. If you do not have fresh garlic, feel free to sub in garlic powder or garlic salt.* Mix and set breadcrumbs aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.
Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce
Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.
Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.
Reheating Tip: As much as I love this dish, it's very heavy so there are almost always plenty of leftovers. The key to reheating this dish is to place it in the oven - NOT the microwave. The oven will crisp up the bread topping (if there is any left) and the cheese will get back to it's original consistency. If you don't have the time to heat it in the oven, then micro it for a few first, then finish it off in the oven. Believe me, the oven is the only way to go on this.