I don't know if it's because the weather is changing but I've been noticing the topic of macaroni and cheese popping up everywhere. On one particular message board, a fellow foodie mentioned that Barefoot Contessa's (Ina Garten) mac n cheese was especially good. I had made Alton Brown's recipe before so I decided to try a new one.
I wanted to really pay attention what I was doing because I find that when I don't, I make critical mistakes even with a recipe as simple as this one. So there aren't going to be too many pictures. I made a simple roux and added some already heated milk. That gets wisked until the roux is dissolved all the way and the milk thickens. While you're making this bechamel you should cook your pasta. BC's recipe calls for elbow macaroni or cavatappi. Since I went to Lunardi's to get everything, they had cavatappi which are like corkscrew macaronies. Once the pasta is cooked, you add it to the cheese sauce. I used sharp cheddar and gruyere cheese which gave it a distinct tang and deep flavor. Once everything's mixed together, I poured it into a baking dish. The recipe calls for a 3 quart dish, but I only had a 2 which almost overflowed with cheesy gooey goodness.
But not only is it pasta and cheese, it's also topped with sliced tomatoes. I used romas since they looked the best at the store.
Tomatoes go on top and then it's topped with breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter. Into the oven it went for 30 minutes. While it was cooking, I made Alton Brown's recipe for pan fried fish with a lemon, butter & caper sauce. By the time I was done cooking that, the mac n cheese was ready.
I served the fish and pasta with a mixed green salad simply dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.
Macaroni & Cheese Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_32868,00.html
Pan Fried Fish Recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_158,00.html
PS - I want to note that the next time I make the pan fried fish, I'm going to deglaze the pan with some white wine to make more sauce. The lemon and capers came out really tart.