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
The Food Hound says
Yay! So happy you commented on my post so I could discover your blog! I love it 🙂 And I LOVE real mac 'n' cheese. I only like pasta when smothered in cheese, and this fits the bill. Enjoy every bite!
I think any new years resolution that involves more cheese is a great one! This sounds delicious…I love the combination of different cheeses! Happy New Year!
Mac and cheese is one of my favorites. My kids and hubby are not big fans; so I do not make it as often as I would like. I think your version with the hot sauce might please them. I definitely like the idea of the homemade breadcrumb topping. I like a nice, crunchy topping on mine:)
I am the same way about panko as a topping on my Mac & Cheese. It is always seasoned bread crumbs or buttery ritz crackers that I use! Your photo is fabulous and you are making me want Mac & Cheese today!
Hi Kathleen! What a great post. I love your resolution to treat yourself to your favorite food. This is so important to do! We need to allow ourselves some pleasure! This mac and cheese looks great. I love hotsauce too! Thank you for sharing this plate of cheesy goodness. I hope you have a beautiful Hump Day!
I can never have enough mac and cheese recipes for some reason. Every time I make it I use a different one. Not sure why since they're all perfect and heavenly in my book given enough cheese. But I'm happy to add this one to the collection!
Tv Food and Drink says
Fantastic! Thank you for welcoming me into the New Year with a such a decadent meal. My ass will follow next week 🙂
I love your idea of indulging in macaroni and cheese once a month – for sure! This looks like a bubbly, cheesy, heavenly meal. Love that you add hot sauce. Will try that next time.
I love mixing cheeses in my mac and cheese! Great recipe to kick off the New Year Kathleen!
Mac n Cheese, what's not to love? Found and am now following you from MBC….
Vodka Logic says
thanks for the new recipe
Deeba PAB says
What a gorgeous mac n cheese…sounds like the best I've seen. Bookmarked!!
Yum, this looks terrific! I love baked mac and cheese – such a good contrast between the creamy pasta and the crunchy topping! Delish. 🙂
Oh goodness that looks amazing. I love the changes you made, and that topping really makes it!
Nothing like a good mac and cheese! It just screams comfort food. I agree, if the topping isn't crunchy you might as well go without.
I also LOVE mac and cheese! Its my over all favorite dish… i usally add peas to mine so i get some kinda green in there haha, but I would probably choose mac and cheese as my last meal…. thats how much Im in love with its cheesy goodness
now that is a resolution i can get behind! what a delicious dish!
I cannot think of a more soul satisfying comfort dish than mac n' cheese. This is an awesome way to prepare mac n' cheese.
Happy New Year!
That is one delicious New Years resolution. I am sure my husband would love it if I told him we would have mac n cheese once a month. This looks delicious with the panko on top.
That Girl says
I feel like everyone in Orange County races about Zov's, but I've never been super impressed. Of course I've never had the mac and cheese. I know what I'm ordering next time!