Make-Ahead Creamy Macaroni and Cheese


4 slices hearty white bread, torn into pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Salt and Pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 cups shredded colby cheese
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese


Process Topping - Pulse bread, Parmesan, garlic and 2 Tbsp. butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Divide crumb mixture between 2 zip-lock freezer bags and freeze.
Cook pasta - Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 Tbsp. salt and macaroni and cook until barely softened, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, then spread out on rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Make Sauce - Heat remaining butter, flour, mustard, and cayenne in empty pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in colby, cheddar, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper until smooth.
Freeze - Stir cooled pasta into sauce, breaking up any clumps, until well combined. Divide pasta mixture between two 8-in square microwaveable baking dishes. Cool to room temperature. Wrap dishes tightly with plastic, cover with foil, and freeze for up to 2 months.
Bake - Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove foil from casserole and reserve. Microwave casserole until mixture is thawed and beginning to bubble around the edges; 7 to 12 minutes, stirring and replacing plastic halfway through cooking. Discard plastic and cover plan with reserved foil. Bake 20 minutes, then remove foil and sprinkle with 1 bag frozen bread crumbs. Continue to bake until crumbs are golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes longer. Let cool 10 minutes.




After preparing and freezing, this is just about as easy as any store bought or boxed mac and cheese!




Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 10:56am


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