Wolfgang Puck's Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra as needed
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk, heated almost to a boil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups packed freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, about 6 ounces
- 1 pound dried macaroni or penne
- 1 cup packed freshly grated Parmesan cheese, about 3 ounces
- 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, about 4 ounces
- 3/4 to 1 cup panko, or other coarse dry breadcrumbs
Adapted from abcnews.go.com
1. Making a roux
In a heavy large saucepan over high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. When it bubbles, gradually sprinkle and whisk in the flour to form a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, whisking constantly for 1 to 2 minutes, without browning.
2. Completing and enriching the béchamel
Whisking continuously, gradually pour the hot milk into the roux. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Briskly whisk the egg yolks into the pan.
3. Making the cheese sauce
Whisk in the Cheddar until smooth. Simmer over low heat, whisking often, until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Add and whisk in one-half cup Parmesan. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more nutmeg if you like.
4. Cooking the macaroni
Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still slightly chewy. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Rinse the macaroni under cold running water to stop the cooking, and drain again.
5. Combining macaroni and sauce
Butter a 10- to 12-cup baking dish. Transfer the macaroni to a large bowl. Add the cheese sauce and stir well to combine, adding some reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed to coat the pasta well. Spread the mixture in the prepared dish.
6. Topping the casserole
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top of the macaroni mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese, then the breadcrumbs. Dot the top with 1 to 2 tablespoons butter.
7. Baking and serving
Bake until the pasta is heated through and the topping is crisp and deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. To serve, scoop onto individual plates or into bowls.