Who doesn’t love mac & cheese? Seriously, it’s probably the ultimate comfort food. Warm, cozy, and reminiscent of the innocence of childhood, ooey gooey cheesy pasta just seems to make us feel happy. And when it’s winter, that’s just what we’re craving.
When it comes to Mac & Cheese, we’d say the more the merrier—of cheese that is, and Chef Brent Richardson’s classic take is rich and delicious. It’s got four different varieties, three Swiss plus goat cheese for a different texture and surprise flavour. The addition of cherry tomatoes helps to add acidity, while mimicking the classic ketchup flavour taste. And as in the Deep South, there are greens, which do the job of offsetting the richness of the main dish. This time, we’ve paired our noodles with a side of a modernized version of the classic collard greens: sautéed kale salad. YUM.
Get ready to make—and devour—this new twist on an old favourite.
CHEF’S MAC & CHEESE WITH SAUTEED KALE
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
For the Béchamel (Cheese Sauce)
4 cups whole milk
8 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
8 oz Swiss Emmentaller cheese
8 oz Swiss Gryere
8 oz Swiss Appenzeller (sur choix/medium strength)
8 oz Ontario goat cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 lbs elbow macaroni
2/3 cups panko
1 cups cherry tomatoes
For Side of Sauteed Kale
2 cups green kale
¼ cup shallots
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic
salt and pepper to taste
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
For the Béchamel
1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to a simmer, then turn off the heat and set aside.
2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and spices and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown in colour, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. While whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth. (It will get very thick when you first add the milk, then thin out.)
4. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and add grated cheese while whisking constantly, cook until the sauce is smooth, and thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper as desired. Remove from the heat and set aside.
1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it’s almost al dente (just on the edge of being underdone), then drain and rinse with cold water; set aside. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle for the baking of the mac ‘n’ cheese with panko.
2. Add the pasta to the béchamel, and fold in cherry tomatoes. Transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the panko, and bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.
For Side of Sautéed Kale
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Executive Chef Brent Richardson of CC Lounge (formerly Beer Bistro, La Carnita and Glas Wine Bar), combines flavours and techniques from different cuisines into a rustic yet elegant take on comfort food. His menu is creative without disregarding the classics, accentuated by local, seasonal ingredients.