Macaroni & Cheese with Basil Bread Crumbs
It doesn't get much more comforting that homemade macaroni and cheese, especially when it has four cheeses and crunchy basil bread crumbs.
When choosing cheeses for this, there were two things I considered: flavor and melting quality. Here, Cheddar and Parmesan amp up the taste, while fontina and white American are great melters. But try fiddling with other cheeses. Monterey Jack, havarti, and Gruyere are smooth melters. A touch of blue or goat cheese adds interesting flavor, but use a light hand or it may overwhelm the dish.
Preheat oven to 400°. Coat four 1-cup ovenproof baking dishes (or one 1-qt. baking dish) with nonstick spray.
Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minute less than directed on package; drain. Return pan to medium-low heat.
Melt butter in pan, then stir in flour until pasty. Gradually whisk in milk and broth, increase heat to medium, and bring to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in cheeses until smooth, then add mustard and Worcestershire; season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Tabasco. Stir in pasta and transfer to prepared baking dishes.
Mince bread, basil, and oil in a food processor; season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle over macaroni. Bake macaroni & cheese until sauce is bubbly and crumbs are browned, 15 minutes.
Add cheeses to warm milk mixture and stir until smooth. Take care not to let the sauce boil or it could turn grainy.
Stir cooked pasta into sauce. It may seem soupy, but the macaroni will absorb some of the moisture during baking.
Fresh bread crumbs give the casseroles a light, delicate crunch. And a few leaves of basil give the crumbs wonderful flavor.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 58%
Sodium 867mg 36%
Carbs 60g 20%
Fiber 2g 8%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.