I've been a regular at NYC's dedicated gourmet macaroni and cheesery, S'MAC, since it opened. They have some of the very best mac and cheese in the whole city. Glutard? Vegan? Watching your calories? Go to S'MAC, they'll take care of you. Even with the menu memorized, I stand there mulling over the possibilities and customizations, wondering if Buffalo sauce will ruin Manchego cheese or if maybe that's a very, very good idea. Naturally, when Macaroni and Cheese Week came around, I pulled my favorite recipe from my favorite spot.
I won't lie, I walked due east from FR Headquarters to S'MAC, sat down with a Blue Point Toasted Lager and a beautiful bubbly skillet of my beloved Napoletana, hit it with a little Tabasco and ate the whole thing before I remembered I was supposed to take a photo for this recipe. So what do you do? I went back the next day and, as punishment, got not one or two but three take-n-bakes, one of which stars in this porntastic Instagram video. —Jess Kapadia, Senior Editor
- 2/3 pound elbow macaroni (4 cups cooked)
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
- 1/4 cup Muenster cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- dried basil leaves
- 2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 15 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
- 1 bulb garlic
- 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Slice off the top of the garlic bulb to expose the clove interiors.
- Brush the bulb with olive oil and wrap it in foil.
- Place directly on the center oven rack and roast for about 30 minutes until the cloves are very soft and you can easily squeeze them out of their skins. A standard garlic bulb should yield about 1/4 cup roasted garlic, which is the amount you need in this recipe.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- Toss the tomatoes with olive oil, dried basil leaves, salt and pepper.
- Place the dressed tomatoes skin side down in a single layer on the prepared pan.
- Roast at 400°F for 25 minutes.
- After removing them from the oven, wait for the tomatoes to cool and then remove the skins.
- Dice the cooled tomatoes.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al dente, 8-10 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.
- Place in a large mixing bowl. Add a touch of olive oil and toss lightly.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Remove from heat.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
- Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour, cooking for 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to brown the mixture.
- Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly (this will ensure that there are no lumps).
- Add the mozzarella, muenster and pecorino romano.
- Stir frequently, until the mozzarella is melted and the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes, 3 tablespoons fresh basil and 1/4 cup roasted garlic.
- Pour the mixture over the pasta and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a baking dish.
- Combine the shredded parmesan and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the macaroni.
- Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes at 400°F.
Find more mac and cheese on Food Republic: