Dad Page's Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy David Page and Barbara Shinn, from Recipes from Home, Artisan 2001.
TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 10 min
Prep: 50 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 1 hr 20 min
YIELD: 2 to 4 servings
LEVEL:

ingredients

  • 6 slices crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, thyme, or oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 4 cups whole milk
    • 1 teaspoon mild paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3/4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar
    • 3/4 cup grated Wisconsin asiago
    • 3/4 grated dry Jack cheese
    • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
    • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
    • 1/2 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs, recipe follows
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
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        Directions

        Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

        Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the paprika, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheeses and stir until they are melted. Add the macaroni and stir until the noodles are thoroughly coated. Remove from heat. Butter 2 (6-inch) cast iron skillets or 1 (12-inch) skillet. Transfer the macaroni mixture into the skillets. Top with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped herbs.

        Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

        Place the butter, garlic, and herbs in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Toss the toasted bread with the butter mixture in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Process the bread in 2 batches in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Sift the crumbs through a mesh strainer and process the larger crumbs again until all are fine. (If you do not have a food processor, crush the bread on the baking sheet with a rolling pin.)

        Yield: 1 cup

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