Colorado river of cheese and macaroni

  • Preparation Time45 mins
  • Cooking Time60 mins
  • Serves8
  • DifficultyMedium

For the macaroni cheese

Bechamel sauce, recipe follows
60ml dry white wine
1 tbsp ground mustard
1 tsp paprika
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1kg shredded mature Cheddar cheese, divided (aged no more than 30 days as a longer aged cheese can make the sauce oily)
250g grated Asiago cheese, divided
125g grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1kg elbow macaroni

For the bechamel sauce

225g butter, room temperature, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2.5L whole milk
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
75g plain flour
For the macaroni cheese:
1) Bring the bechamel sauce to a simmer over a low heat. Add the white wine and stir to combine. Stir in the mustard, paprika, and salt and pepper.

2) Gradually add the cheeses, reserving about 50g of each cheese for the top of the casserole. Stir the sauce thoroughly between each addition of the cheese. Simmer until the cheese is well blended.

3) Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the elbow macaroni and cook to al dente. Drain. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.

4) In a large casserole dish (or in several smaller dishes) add 1cm of the warm cheese sauce. Fill the casserole with the drained elbow macaroni. Top with another layer of cheese sauce, covering the macaroni completely and sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

5) Bake the macaroni until the top is brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the casserole dish.

6) Remove from the oven and serve hot.

For the bechamel sauce:
1) In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 110g of the butter and add the onion. Saute until very soft, but do not brown.

2) In another saucepan, scald the milk. Stir the sauteed onions into the milk along with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

3) Make a blonde roux by mixing the remaining 110g of butter and the flour in a small bowl. Add the roux to the simmering milk and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Cook's note: The bechamel sauce can be prepared 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore we cannot make any representation as to the results.

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