MAC N' CHEESE (with shrimp... or not)
This recipe adds shrimp for a little luxury but you can substitute the shrimp for chicken, ham, turkey, lobster, scallops, steak, snails, sausage, alligator, squirrel or whatever protein you fancy. Or, just leave the protein out completely and go vegetarian. Even the occasional vegetable is not out of place... but we like the shrimp version.
Serves 4-5 people
1 lb Macaroni, dry
3 tbsp Butter, unsalted
3 tbsp Flour, AP (all purpose)
3 cups Milk, whole
¼ tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground
¼ tsp White Pepper, freshly ground if possible
2 tspb Till’s Rub
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
4 oz Sharp White Cheddar, grated
4 oz Gruyere Cheese, grated
4 oz Brie, cubed
2 oz Parmesan, grated
20 Raw Shrimp, peeled, 31/35
2 tsp Till’s Rub
2 tsp Canola Oil
¾ cup Breadcrumbs, fresh or Panko
¼ cup Parmesan, grated
1 ½ tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Butter melted
In a large pot, heat up at least 3 quarts of water. Once the water is boiling add the salt (1 tbsp / quart; properly seasoned pasta water should taste salty like the ocean).
Add the maccaroni to the boiling water and stir for a couple of minutes so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom. You can also use other pasta shapes like fusilli, penne or rigatoni etc.. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, minus 1 minute; the pasta will finish cooking in the oven.
Drain the past into a colander and return the empty pot to the stove on medium heat.
Add the butter to the pot and melt. Add the flour and stir to incorporate. Cook for two minutes careful not to brown. Hey, you just made a roux! Now add the milk and over med-high heat whisk constantly until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to med-low. Guess what, you just made a Bechamel sauce!
Season the sauce with the nutmeg, pepper, Till's Rub and mustard. Whisk to combine.
Now, add all the cheeses into the sauce and stirring constantly, melt them into the sauce. Add salt to taste. Take the pot off the heat and add the macaroni.
Cut each shrimp into 3 pieces and place in a bowl and toss with Till's Rub to evenly coat. We like a little kick from our “Fierce Rub”. Add the oil to a skillet and heat on high until the oil shimmers. Add the seasoned shrimp, saute for 1 minute and then add them to the macaroni and cheese sauce and stir until evenly combined.
Add the mac n’ cheese to a buttered baking dish (or individual dishes for each their own).
In a separate bowl combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan and melted butter. sprinkle the mixture over the mac n' cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 375° F and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Try It On!