There are officially six days of winter left, which means we can soon start appreciating the blooming of flowers, outdoor cookouts and a generally happier population.
But it also means we have to mourn the end of the season of comfort food – the kind of heavy, creamy, cheese-and-carb laden dishes that are just better when you have no bigger plans than laying around in your hoodie and sweatpants than they are when you’re planning on running around town wearing more revealing clothing.
So before it’s too late, make one of the all-time great American comfort foods: macaroni and cheese.
We love the blue box as much as anyone, but there’s just something about homemade, baked macaroni and cheese with a crusty top and a creamy center that makes our hearts melt and our mouths salivate.
This version – courtesy of award-winning Chef John Kunkel – is made with four types of cheese, hot sauce, dijon mustard and a blend of spices. It’s the kind of dish that makes winter worth dealing with.
For the mornay sauce
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
For mac and cheese
- 6 ounces torchio pasta
- 6 ounces mornay sauce
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted bread crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon minced chives
- 1 Preheat oven to 350˚F and put a pot of water on the stove to boil.
- 2 Prepare the mornay sauce: melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add the flour, whisking constantly. When the butter and flour are blended completely, add the milk, whisking rapidly. Continue whisking until the mixture is thickened. Add in the four cheeses and stir over low heat until the cheese melts; remove from heat. Add the paprika and season with some salt, hot sauce and dijon mustard.
- 3 Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the salted boiling water until al dente; drain.
- 4 Toss the pasta in the mornay sauce over medium heat until well coated. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over top and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
- 5 Remove from the oven and let cool slightly; sprinkle with the chives and breadcrumbs before serving.