January 11, 2010

Baking Sheet Macaroni & Cheese

Last month, Amanda Hesser posted a recipe for Baking Sheet Mac & Cheese on her blog food52. In an "effort to realign" the creamy to crunchy ration of casserole-dish mac & cheese, Hesser bakes the cheesy pasta in a shallow, rimmed baking sheet; we're talking about the kind you'd bake cookies or roast veggies on, a 12 x 17-inch rectangle with 1-inch sides. The result is a lot more surface crunch than you'd typically get.

She actually posted two recipes: one mixing the cooked pasta with fontina, asiago, & heavy cream; the other mixing the pasta with two cheddar cheeses & topping with whole milk once it's in the pan.

I essentially combined her recipes, using ingredients & techniques from both to create a very tasty macaroni & cheese dish with A LOT of crunch on top...without using breadcrumbs!

Before I give you my modified recipe, let me remind you that (1) mac & cheese is my all-time favorite thing to eat, and (2) I've been on a never-ending search for the perfect mac & cheese recipe. The closest I've gotten so far has been Tyler Florence's Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese. This super-crunchy yet still cheesy version is giving Tyler a run for his money, that's for sure.

Baking Sheet Macaroni & Cheese
adapted from food52

1 pound macaroni elbow pasta
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
10 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt, to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Boil the pasta in salted water for 6-7 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
  • Add the pasta back to the pot & stir in the cheeses, cream, milk, pepper & salt. Taste & adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Spread the cheesy pasta in a buttered, rimmed baking sheet (half-sheet size, about 11 x 17). Top evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Yes, use the entire 2 cups worth. TRUST ME.
  • Bake the macaroni for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly & melted. Then, turn on the broiler & toast the top until golden brown all over. (Hesser bakes hers at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.)


ironstef said...

That actually looks pretty effin good! I'm not a huge mac and cheese fan *ducks*, but with the crispy edges and more salty, flavorful cheeses, your version makes me drool!

eve! said...

Lindy has already requested this for his b'day dinner! Looks crunchtastic!

kimberleyblue said...

Ooooh...this sounds great! Mac and cheese is one of my favs, and this is really interesting...

Evelyn said...

Wow! Such a good idea...one that is so simple it makes you wonder why you didn't ever think of it. I will definitely be trying this out soon

Foxkai said...

I have made this many times and its a huge family favorite! My husband and my kids just love it thanks for posting it.

Kelly @ Barbaric Gulp! said...

Glad you like it!