Published by admin on 25 Jan 2011
I’ve had this book for many years. And I have never made a single one of the recipes, because while I love mac n’ cheese, I’m usually scared of making something fattening. There are two reasons for that. Number 1, I’ll eat the whole thing and become obese overnight, and number 2, I live in Los Angeles so if I make it and bring it somewhere no one will eat it because everyone else in LA is afraid of eating something and becoming obese overnight.Since my New Year’s Resolutions involve not really worrying about that so much anymore, I made a damn mac n’ cheese recipe. And let me tell you, it was a hit. People were in LOVE with the mac n’ cheese. It was a Los Angeles miracle! So without further ado, I present to you City Hall Macaroni and Cheese.
City Hall Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb penne rigate
- 2 cups heavy cream (I am always flummoxed in the cream section, there’s whipping cream and heavy whipping cream, but no cream that is heavy cream, so I used the heavy whipping cream. I’m also bad with measurements, so I used the medium sized container, not the tall one, not the little one, the one right in the middle. Exactly two cups!)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups (1/2 lb) American cheese shredded (I couldn’t find shredded American cheese at Ralph’s, and the only non-deli American cheese was in individually wrapped slices and that seemed like a bad idea, so I went to the deli counter ordered 1/2 pound of white American cheese in thin slices and sort of tore it up into pieces when I got to that step)
- 1 and 1/3 cups (1/3 lb) grated Monterey Jack cheese (I just used one 8 oz. package of pre-shredded cheese, and seriously, I don’t know how to convert pounds and ounces and get worried that I never learned that in school. Maybe because I didn’t take home ec? So, basically after I put it in the pan, I realized I used 2 cups of Monterey Jack.)
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley (didn’t use)
- 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
First you preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 by 13 in. baking pan. (Like brownie pan size for measuring challenged like myself.)
Then do the pasta according to packaged directions for al dente.
Then the hardest step - combine the cream, milk, nutmeg and cayenne in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, making sure to stir it so it doesn’t get a gross skin and so that it does reduce to about half its volume. (The book says about 15 minutes, I gave it more like 20 because I’m a slow learner. The book also says to season with the salt and pepper, but I forgot.)
Add the cheese slowly, whisking along to way so it melts without getting clumpy or gross.
Then put the cooked pasta in the creamy cheese and mix together, the starch from the pasta supposedly helps thicken the sauce, SCIENCE!
Then put it in your buttered baking dish, sprinkle with the combined panko and parmesan and bake until golden brown and bubbly. (The book says it will take about 15 minutes, but it took mine more like 20.)