real life test kitchen: white macaroni & cheese

A couple of months ago, Melissa Clark wrote a fantastic column for the NYTimes Dining section that helps thousands of moms (me included) feel better better about their finicky kids. If a foodie like Clark has trouble getting her daughter to consume anything that isn’t beige, what help do the rest of us have? Her answer: Embrace the beige. And she does so with gusto, sharing three sumptuous recipes, including one for a decadent macaroni and cheese that I just had to try. Even though it has four kinds of cheese, you don’t need cream or milk. This is pasta and cheese at its purist. I love that it mixes marscapone with Brie and good old cream cheese. I admit it’s a combo I wouldn’t have tried myself, but am glad to have given a go. Honestly, my resulting casserole was a touch on the dry side. I think a bit of reserved pasta water would do the trick next time. Here’s my take on White Macaroni & Cheese — pair it with a salad of spring greens and you won’t feel so guilty!

White Macaroni & Cheese

What You Need:

1 pound pasta, I used farfalle
6 ounces Brie, rind removed and cheese cut into chunks
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mascarpone
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)

How To Make:
1. Heat oven to 375. Butter sides and bottom of a large casserole dish.
2. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente; reserve some pasta water while draining
3. Transfer hot pasta to a large bowl and toss immediately with Brie and cream cheese until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, mascarpone and parmigiano. Stir egg mixture into pasta. Season with pepper and nutmeg.
4. Add a few splashes of pasta water and make sure it is very wet.
5. Pour pasta into the pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs
6. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

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