Meatless Monday: Macaroni and Cheese Part IX

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Part of our continuing series on the glory and splendor that is macaroni and cheese. See Parts: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII.

So, this recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation.

Food blogging is an area where plagiarizing someone else’s work is very easy to do. Let’s take macaroni and cheese. No one holds a trademark on it, so ingredient lists are not unique or special. The recipe as it is written by the person who developed it, however, is. I come up with about half of the recipes that I have published her at Al Dente. The other half come from a book or website. Those works are protected by copyright and, while I do give credit, I’m careful how I use these items because I don’t seek permission from an author or publisher before I use the recipe. Transcribing Donald Link’s recipe for his smoked sausage and pork belly cassoulet, as it appeared in his latest cookbook, would be wrong on so many levels.

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If I create the recipe, you will see it listed as “By Jared Paventi.”

If I take the recipe from another source and make a little tweak here or there, you will see it listed as “Adapted lightly from…”

If I take that recipe and change a couple of things, I will say that is “Adapted from…”

If I make major changes to the recipe, I will say that it is “Inspired by…”

So, what happened here? I adapted the recipe from Kate Williams’ entry at Serious Eats. Her recipe is based on one from the 2012 cookbook Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown. Ellen’s recipe was a recreation of a dish served at the now-shuttered Providence, R.I. restaurant La Laiterie. Got all of that?

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WHAT WORKED: The combination of creamy brie, earthy gruyere, tangy chevre and sharp cheddar. It was like a big cheese party where everyone got along and played nicely together.

WHAT DIDN’T: It needed more than 4 oz. of brie. The problem with brie is the rind, which when you remove it doesn’t leave you much cheese.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: I don’t remember what she said word for word, but it was something about her cholesterol level after this dinner.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: One of these days, I’m going to make all nine of these mac and cheese recipes. Maybe I’ll even share them with others.

La Laiterie’s Herbed Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Kate Williams’ version at Serious Eats

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. penne
  • 6 oz. mild brie cheese, rind removed
  • 3 to 4 oz. grated gruyère cheese
  • 3 oz. grated sharp white cheddar
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose white flour
  • 1 tsp. herbes de provence
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with butter.

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add salt and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain, run cold water over top and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk and half-and-half, taking care not to scorch it.

Chop the brie into small pieces and add to a bowl with the gruyere, goat cheese and cheddar. Mix by hand and transfer 1/2 cup of the cheese mix to a separate bowl or dish.

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In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp. of butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a flat whisk, for 60 to 90 seconds. The roux should begin turning beige and foamy. Add the herbes de provence and ladle in the warmed milk, whisking it together with the roux. Bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the cheese in handfuls, stirring with the flat whisk.

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Add pasta to the buttered baking dish and pour the cheese over top.

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In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add the breadcrumbs and cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until the crumbs are toasted. Transfer to the bowl with the remaining cheese, toss, then use it to top the casserole.

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Place the baking dish on the lowest rack in your oven and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling vigorously without being too soupy. Remove from the oven and let stand up to 10 minutes before serving.

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