Almost Zov’s Mac and Cheese Is A Rich, Creamy, Super Cheesy Baked Macaroni and Cheese With A Crunchy Topping. Recipe From Premier OC Chef Zov Karamardian.
I LOVE mac and cheese. It’s such a wonderful comfort food. Especially, when the weather is blustery and cold, macaroni and cheese seems to not only warm up your belly, but somehow it seems to warm up your soul. I realize that I deprive myself of this magical comfort food because, let’s face it, it’s not the lightest dish. Well, I’ve decided I no longer care. I’ve decided that I’m going to treat myself to my beloved mac and cheese at least once a month.(Who am I trying to kid? This is going to mean lots more time on Mr. treadmill!!!) How’s that for a New Years resolution!
So, for my first m and c of the 2011, I present you with Zov’s Silky Macaorni and Cheese. Zov is a local, Orange County, restaurateur and celebrity chef. I saw this recipe before Christmas and knew that I had to give it a try. I was immediately impressed with the quantity of white sauce this recipe contained because I knew it would produce a very thick finished dish. I also liked that Zov added hot sauce. I always add hot sauce to my white sauce. It seems to me to add more depth of flavor. I thought her cheese mixture seemed delicious! Well, this was indeed, a thick, creamy and yummy mac and cheese. The cheese combo made a mellow, mild sauce that would suit kids and people who don’t like a strong cheese flavor. Zov adds heat with the hot sauce, cayenne and black pepper. You can adjust that to appeal to your audience.
The first time I made this dish, I followed the recipe exactly. You can find a copy of the original HERE. I made it again for New Years Day and made a few minor changes. The only thing I didn’t love about the original recipe was the panko addition to the bottom of the casserole and topping. Can you believe it? I honestly thought the topping was going to be the Pièce de résistance. Well, it wasn’t for me. Instead of the delicious crunchy buttery topping I expected, I found it soggier than anything. There was a very thin layer of crunchiness, but most of the panko came into contact with the sauce and it ended up being just soggy and unpleasant. So, the second time I made this I replaced the panko with homemade breadcrumb topping. My family likes a more dominant cheddar flavor so I bumped up the quantity of cheddar and took out the Parmesan. I also cut the hot sauce down cuz my fam is, frankly, a wee bit wimpy with spiciness. With just a couple of minor tweaks, I think the recipe is still true to Zov, and slightly customized to suit my fam.
I hope your New Year is off to a great start!
Almost Zov's Mac and Cheese
- 1 1/2 Cups Chunky Bread Crumbs, Toasted
- 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
- 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Parsely, Chopped
- To Taste Salt
- To Taste Black Pepper
Mac and Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 1 Pound Large Elbow Macaroni
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 9 Cups Whole Milk
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 6 Ounces Fontina Cheese Cut Into Small Cubes
- 9 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shredded
- 4 Ounces Asiago Cheese Finely Shredded
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- Prepare the topping: Mix all topping ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Adjust oven rack to lower third position and preheat oven 325 degrees.
- Combine 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often about 6 minutes. Drain in a colander; toss it in the colander with the oil to coat; set the macaroni aside in the colander while preparing the cheese sauce. Reserve the pot to make the sauce.
- Prepare sauce: Warm milk in a large saucepan until it is hot but not boiling; cover and set aside. Melt butter in a reserved large pot over medium heat until foaming. Add flour and whisk until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high and continue whisking until mixture comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. The mixture must reach a full boil to fully thicken. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until sauce thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat and gradually add cheeses, whisking until they melt completely. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, black pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. (Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, heat the sauce in a large saucepan before proceeding.)
- Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Stir the cooked macaroni into the warm cheese sauce. Spoon the macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top casserole with prepared bread crumb topping.
- Bake until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly around the sides and heated through, about 30 minutes. Turn the broiler on and broil the macaroni and cheese until the crumb topping is deep golden brown, rotating the baking dish for even browning, about 2 minutes.
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Source: Zov via The Orange County Register