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Published: Tuesday, 2/28/2006

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

For the macaroni and cheese:

2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 ounces American, colby, or

cheddar cheese, (grate 1 cup and

thinly slice the rest)

For the crumb topping:

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup dried bread or salted cracker

crumbs

Cook's note: For a creamy macaroni and cheese, do not use low-fat cheese.

To prepare the macaroni and cheese: Cook macaroni as directed. Melt butter over low heat and stir in flour to form a smooth paste (roux). Add milk gradually, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper and grated cheese and cook until thickened. Mix with macaroni. Place half of macaroni in a greased baking dish, layering with half of the sliced cheese; repeat with remaining half of macaroni and sliced cheese.

To prepare the crumb topping: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter or margarine. Stir in bread or cracker crumbs. Spoon crumb mixture over macaroni and cheese. Make at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Source: Kathie Smith

8 ounces smallish macaroni such as

elbows

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

8 ounces Gruyere, Emmenthal, or

Swiss cheese, shredded

4 ounces creme fraiche, or as

desired

A grating of fresh nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

to taste

Cook pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain, and reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid.

In pot, melt butter and saute garlic and shallot for three minutes. Return hot pasta to pan and toss with garlic, shallot, shredded cheese sprinkled evenly over the top, creme fraiche, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Ladle about 1/4 cup of cooking liquid and toss gently. If the cheese doesn't melt right away, turn the heat to low for a few minutes; the cooking liquid should help produce a light, saucy coating of cheese for the pasta. If it seems dry, ladle a bit more of the liquid.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Adapted from Marlena Spieler's Macaroni & Cheese

1 pound pumpkin, hubbard, or

butternut squash, peeled and cut

into bite-size (about 3/4-inch)

pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or

extra-virgin olive oil

8 to 10 young flavorful sage leaves,

thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, chopped

8 ounces gemelli, cicatelli, or

another chewy pasta

3 to 5 tablespoons creme fraiche, or

as desired

6 ounces fontina or another white

flavorful cheese, shredded

4 to 6 tablespoons freshly grated

aged parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

to taste

4 ounces prosciutto ham, cut into

strips or diced

Lightly saute pumpkin in two tablespoons of butter or oil over medium-low heat until it browns lightly in spots and becomes tender, but not mushy. About halfway through the cooking time, add half the sage and garlic. Set aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of rapidly broiling water until al dente. Drain and save about 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

Toss hot pasta with the hot sauted pumpkin, and spoon in the creme fraiche and half the cheese. Toss together over medium-low heat on the stove with a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid. Add the rest of the cheese, toss with pasta, then add the remaining sage and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with the prosciutto.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Adapted from Marlena Spieler's Macaroni & Cheese

8 ounces dried macaroni

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 4 tablespoons butter

Sea salt and pepper

4 ounces cepes or crimini

mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup heavy cream

4 ounces blue cheese

Add macaroni to large pan of boiling salted water with the olive oil and cook seven to 10 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to remove excess starch. Return to the pan and set aside.

Melt butter in small skillet. Add mushrooms and saute until softened and golden brown. Then season with pepper. Heat the broiler.

Add the cream to the macaroni and crumble in two-thirds of the blue cheese. Heat gently for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Season with pepper.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a gratin dish and sprinkle on the mushrooms and remaining cheese. Place under the hot broiler for two to three minutes to brown lightly, then serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Gordon Ramsey Makes it Easy



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