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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Cooking - The Seasoned Chef

Comfort classic goes gourmet
Rating: 3.21 / 5 (265 votes)  
Posted: 2008 Feb 15 - 02:54

Here's a gourmet twist on an American classic, mac 'n cheese.

It probably would not be your first choice for a fancy sit-down dinner with your closest friends, but the creamy Gruyere sauce and crispy onions turn one of America's first comfort foods into a gourmet delight.

Some believe that macaroni and cheese was created by founding father Thomas Jefferson, known for his great interest in food, and also known for serving it in the White House in 1802.

However, noted food historian Karen Hess clams Mr. Jefferson did not invent the dish, even though he did return from a trip from Paris with a macaroni mold.

Gourmet macaroni and cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

1-quart heavy cream

3 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

6 oz. of French's original "French Fried Onions "

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, bring 1 gallon of water to boil and cook the macaroni. Pour into a strainer, rinse with cool water and let drain.

In a separate pot, heat the heavy cream to a boil, then down to simmer and reduce by half. Next, turn off the heat, let sit for 3 minutes and add the Gruyere cheese. Mix until well blended, give it a taste and add salt and pepper if you need to.

Now add the cooled macaroni and 3 ounces of French fried onions into the pot of cheese sauce and stir gently. Pour all into a casserole dish and top off with the remaining fried onions. Bake for 10 minutes at 380 degrees with a cover, then 5 minutes without a cover.

I hope you enjoy this version of the classic macaroni and cheese.

Tips and techniques

. When you are reducing the heavy cream, make sure the pot is deep enough and that you keep an eye on it,

because the cream will rise at first and can make a big mess if left unattended.

. When the cream has reduced by half, make sure it cools down a bit before adding the cheese or the sauce may separate.

. Schedule a few extra work- out sessions this week because this is not exactly a healthy dish, but it sure does taste good.

Contact Chris Kennedy at Seasoned Catering at (561) 351-0221, or e-mail chris@seasonedcatering.com.

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