Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fleming's Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe was printed in our local paper per a reader's request. The chef from Fleming's provided the recipe. I tried to lighten it up a bit and it was so good. I love being able to make things at home that taste like the dishes you love at a restaurant. It was a little more time consuming than I thought it would be but it was worth it.

Yield:8-10 servings
1 pound cavatappi or curly pasta
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup onion, 1/2-inch diced
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (I used Smart Balance)
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream (I used 2 cups fat free half and half)
3 cups half and half (I used 3 cups fat free half and half)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 pound smoked cheddar cheese, grated; see cook's notes
1/4 pound cheddar cheese, grated (I used the 2% sharp cheddar cheese)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Cook's notes: Smoked cheddar cheese is available at Whole Foods and Bristol Farms.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and pasta and cook for 8-9 minutes. Drain pasta and cool under cold running water. Pasta should be slightly firm. Toss drained pasta in oil and reserve.
2.Melt butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, but do not brown. Add cream, half and half, kosher salt and white pepper. Bring pot to a simmer. Cook until sauce is thick, about 5-6 minutes. Blend cheese into sauce. Add cooked pasta.
3. Pour pasta and sauce into a 9-by-12-inch baking dish. Reserve.
4.In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add oil and chipotle chili powder. Heat for 30 seconds, until pan starts to smoke. Remove from stove and stir in bread crumbs.
5.Sprinkle bread crumbs over the pasta and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly before serving.

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