• Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Cavatelli and Parmesan-Cornmeal Crust
April 19, 2014

1 quart dried cavatelli pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste


Fontina mornay:
1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb all-purpose flour
2 quarts whole milk
5 oz grated fontina
2 oz grated Parmesan
small pinch of nutmeg (optional)
salt and white pepper to taste


Parmesan-cornmeal crust:
1 cup cornmeal
3 cloves finely minced garlic
3 cups chicken stock, or water
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste


Serves: 6–8

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Season lightly with salt. Once boiling, add 1 quart of dried cavatelli pasta. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, strain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Thoroughly drain the pasta, then lightly toss with a little bit of olive oil. Set aside.

Fontina mornay:
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add all of the flour and whisk until incorporated. Stir constantly for about five to ten minutes, or until there is no longer the smell of raw flour. Now add the milk at a rapid flow while whisking vigorously. This step is important so the flour does not clump. Add a pinch of nutmeg and season with salt and white pepper. Continue to stir frequently. The sauce will thicken as the temperature gets higher. If it becomes too thick, adjust with a little water. Next, slowly add both the fontina and Parmesan to the sauce. Stir until smooth. Turn off the heat and keep warm.

Parmesan-cornmeal crust:
Bring the liquid and garlic to a boil. Slowly whisk in all of the cornmeal. Turn the temperature to very low and continue to stir for about 20 to 25 minutes. Once the cornmeal is fully cooked, add the butter. Stir until the butter is fully incorporated and season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, thinly spread the cornmeal onto a nonstick sheet pan. Bake in an oven at 320°F until crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool down completely. Break apart into small bits, and toss together with the Parmesan. Season if necessary.  Set aside.

To assemble:
Bring the mornay back to a simmer. Add the cavatelli pasta to the sauce and stir until all the pasta is covered evenly. Place the pasta in an oven safe dish. Cover the top with the Parmesan-cornmeal mixture. Bake in oven at 350°F until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy.


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