Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

I've long been on a search for a great macaroni and cheese recipe, so it was a thrill to see a version on Food 52 from someone I trust. Jennifer Hess of Last Night's Dinner, who I think is an inventive and smart cook, tweeted about her entry, and I put it at the top of my list. I love how her blog chronicles culinary inventions springing from what's in her pantry, freezer, and local market haul. She's the kind of cook you want to emulate, someone who can think on her feet, which I really admire. I knew that a recipe for something as serious as macaroni and cheese was sure to be perfect.

It was. Though the idea behind this recipe is common—boiled pasta mixed into a bechamel sauce and baked—the execution here is dead on. And, best of all, the whole thing cooks in a single skillet (plus a pot for boiling the pasta). It comes out of the oven brown and bubbling, with a subtle sharpness from the cheddar, nuttiness from the gruyère, and a wonderful savory roundness from the Parmesan/Pecorino tag team. This one is going into my rotation, as long as nobody who I'm eating with minds butter, heavy cream, and a heckuva lot of cheese. Hess does recommend a nice salad or sautéed greens, which is good advice.

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After spending a year in Estonia, he now lives in Chicago.

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