Friday, March 11, 2011

Mac and Cheese Cook-Off

The cover of March Bon Appetit was a claim that they found their favorite mac and cheese recipe. My response was to hold a competition between their "southern charm" mac and cheese and my own. A friend of mine took up the challenge to compete as well.  So, we were left with three mac and cheese recipes to test against one another. Here are the photos: 
A lot of cheese.  All delicious.  In the end my mac and cheese won. But here is the recipe for what sparked the competition:

"Pimiento" Mac and Cheese (from Bon Appetit)

What You Need

- 1 7- to 8-ounce red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, halved, divided
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3/4 cup drained mild Peppadew peppers in brine, 1 tablespoon brine reserved
-1/4 teaspoon ground ancho chiles
- 1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella
- 8 ounces medium shell pasta or gemelli

What You Do

  1. Bring 1/2 cup water, bell pepper, and 11/2 garlic cloves to boil in small saucepan.
  2. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pepper is soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. Toast panko in skillet over medium-high heat until golden, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Transfer to bowl; cool to lukewarm. Rub 1 tablespoon butter into crumbs to coat. Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  5. Transfer bell pepper mixture to processor.
  6. Add Peppadews and 1 tablespoon brine, 2 tablespoons butter, ground chiles, and 1/2 garlic clove; then add cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  7. Blend until sauce is smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  9. Butter 8-cup baking dish.
  10. Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite.
  11. Drain; return to pot.
  12. Stir sauce and mozzarella into pasta.
  13. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Spoon pasta into dish.
  15. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
  16. Bake pasta until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes (15 for individual).
  17. Let stand 10 minutes.
With this recipe, I would recommend trying to find a way to make it a bit creamier. It didn't live up to the "pimiento" in the title. But, we did have a fun dinner party and lots of left overs.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry to have missed this evening! YUM.