Recipe of the week
I’ve sampled plenty of rivals; this is “the best macaroni and cheese I have ever tasted,” said Andrea Weigl in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. It originated at the Rackhouse Pub in Denver, and with five different cheeses, it’s “over-the-top good,” with a crunchy panko crust that’s “the perfect contrast to the underlying cheesy, gooey goodness.”
Beer-baked macaroni and cheese
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter • ½ cup flour • ½ cup amber beer • 2 cups half-and-half • ½ lb Brie cheese • 16 oz cream cheese • 1½ cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese • 2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese • 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided • 1 16-oz box penne pasta, cooked and drained • salt and pepper • ½ cup panko or bread crumbs
• Heat oven to 350. In a medium, heavybottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a light roux. Slowly whisk in the beer and half-and-half. Add the Brie and cream cheese to the sauce, stirring until the cheeses are melted and incorporated. Stir in the Gorgonzola, cheddar, and 1 cup Parmesan.
• Stir in the pasta, taste and adjust the seasoning as desired with salt and pepper (some of the cheeses are salty and the mixture may need only a little salt, or none).
• Pour the mixture into a 13-by- 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and panko or bread crumbs. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the toppings are crisp and golden, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Makes 12-16 servings.