We will be switching to a new online subscription service on Tuesday, August 5th. If you are already a subscriber with login access to MtDemocrat.com you will need to re-register under the new service. This will not affect your bill. Please take the time today to click "Subscriber Verification" to verify your subscription with us and continue your access to MtDemocrat.com before the new service takes over.
We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and continued support while we make this transition.
- Mountain Democrat
Classic baked mac cheese — Ingredients: 8 ounces fusilli or other short pasta, 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon more for the baking dish, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2 cups whole milk heated, 1 bay leaf, pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (freshly ground nutmeg has superior flavor over already ground nutmeg), 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese.
Preparation: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Then, drain the pasta. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook continuing to whisk for 2 minutes. Then, whisk in the milk. Add the bay leaf, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of salt. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick about 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in 2 cups cheddar cheese and the Gruyère. Stir in the pasta and the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Add the pasta mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar. Bake 15 minutes.
Butternut blue cheese — Peel and cube 1 small butternut squash, roast at 425 degrees until tender, about 20 minutes. Make classic baked mac and cheese, using 2 1/2 cups cheddar in the sauce and replacing the Gruyère with 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese; add the squash. Top with 1/4 cup each cheddar and blue cheese and broil until melted. Do not bake.
Italian — Make classic baked mac and cheese, replacing the cheddar in the sauce and on top with fontina. Top with 1/4 cup each panko, (Japanese bread crumbs, available in the Asian section of the supermarket) and grated parmesan before baking.
Truffle — Sauté 1 pound sliced mushrooms in olive oil until browned. Make classic baked mac and cheese, replacing the cheddar in the sauce with 2 cups of grated truffle cheese. Add the mushrooms; top with 1/4 cup Gruyère replacing the cheddar.
Onion lovers — Cook 2 sliced large onions in butter until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Make classic baked mac and cheese, adding the onions and 1 bunch chopped scallions. Bake, then sprinkle with bread crumbs or crushed onion flavored potato chips.
Smoked mozzarella — Make classic baked mac and cheese, adding 1/2 cup each sliced roasted red peppers and diced smoked mozzarella. Top with the cheddar and broil until golden. Do not bake.
Bacon — Make classic baked mac and cheese; add 8 slices crumbled cooked bacon before baking.
Bacon chipotlé — Make classic baked mac and cheese, reducing the cheddar in the sauce to 1 cup and replacing the Gruyère with 2 cups chipotlés cheddar; add 2 teaspoons chopped chipotlés in adobo sauce and 8 slices crumbled cooked bacon. Top with the cheese and a mix of 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and 1 tablespoon smoked paprika before baking.
Classic stovetop — Make classic baked mac and cheese. Skip baking step, add just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce. Cook on low to medium heat on the stovetop until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
French style stovetop — Make classic baked mac and cheese, cooking 2 chopped garlic cloves in the butter. Replace the cheddar in the sauce with 8 ounces brie (rind removed) and add just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce. Stir 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard into the sauce. Cook on low to medium heat on the stovetop until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.