Timing is everything in the blog business. My subjects are predetermined for me be the ever-indespensible food timeline. Often I plan beforehard just what recipes I plan on doing. With my natural disinclination for all things Kraft, it should shock no one that I had planned on doing a version of Macaroni and Cheese.
Then Meg from Too Many Chefs went and posted her own version. A version that made me drool. I chucked out the recipe that I had in store and made hers instead, altering just a tad in order to meet my own tastes. I highly recommend making her version as well, as the prosciutto sounds like a wonderful addition.
My own choices are based on the following. 1) I like onions ….and 2) I chose parrano and asagio cheeses as they melt very nicely and add a bit of sweetness to contrast against the sharpness of the cheddar. I tihnk it worked out quite well.
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb (1 box) Ziti macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 All-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Asagio cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parrano Cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably from 1 day old Italian bread
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and just starting to turn brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Then cook the macaroni as per directions on the box. Pretty straight forward, right?
Pre-heat the over to 400 degrees F.
Now for the fun part…the bechamel. Melt the butter in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together well. Allow to bubble and get a medium to light brown color. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the milk and fully incorporate. Repeat, 1/4 cup of milk at a time. Then add the 1/2 cup of cream and fully incorporate as well. Voila! Cream sauce! Now to add the cheese.
Mix in 1/2 cup of the Cheddar cheese, and stir until cheese has melted. Repeat the process two more times adding 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese each time. Save the last 1/2 cup of cheddar until later. Then mix in 1/8 of a cup of parrano and 1/8 cup of asagio.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain well and return to the pan from which you cooked it. Pour in the cheese sauce and onions. Fold in well. Then pour the pasta and cheese into a 12″ x 8.5″ baking dish. Top with the remaining cheeses and finally with the bread crumbs. Place in the oven for 5-8 minutes, baking until the crumbs are golden brown.
You should now have 3/4 cup of cheese remaining….1/2 cup of cheddar, 1/8 cup of asagio and 1/8 cup of parrano. Set aside.