08 December 2009

Winter Soul Food: Macaroni and Cheese

From Denny: Mac 'n' Cheese is a family favorite all year 'round here in south Louisiana and throughout America. These days chefs create their own versions from a wonderful assortment of cheeses. Since President Obama was elected the national spotlight has been on the city of Chicago. This chef and his restaurant are located in The Windy City.

Chef Chiakulas was one of those precocious kids who liked to cook at an early age. By the age of 10 years old he opened his first "restaurant" serving cheese sandwiches and hotdogs to his brothers for a price: 10 cents! Now that he's all grown up he specializes in comfort food with grown-up taste and clever artistic touches to tantalize the most picky or discriminating diner.

Mity Nice Grill - Lettuce Entertain You
Water Tower Place (Mezzanine Level)- between 1st and 2nd floors.
835 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Mac and Jack is served at Mity Nice Grill for $9.95 at lunch and $11.95 at dinner.

Mac and Jack

From: Chef John Chiakulas of Mity Nice Grill, Chicago

Serves: 4 restaurant side dish servings - which is more like serving 6 to 8 at home.


For sauce:

• 5 ounces grated white Cheddar cheese
• 3 cups heavy cream
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1/3 teaspoon of kosher salt
• 1/3 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese

For baked macaroni:

• 2 1/2 cups of Mac and Jack sauce
• 2 1/2 cups cooked pipette (fancy macaroni)
• 2 pinches of kosher salt and pepper
• 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 4 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs
• 2 pinches chopped parsley


For sauce:

Bring all the ingredients to a boil, whisking until the cheeses are completely melted and well mixed. Do not reduce. Strain out the chili flakes. Set aside.

For macaroni:

Heat the sauce in a skillet until boiling.

Heat the cooked pasta in boiling water for 15 seconds, drain and add to the sauce.

Add the salt and pepper while tossing to combine.

Pour about 1/4 of the pasta into 2 separate bowls and top each with a 1/2 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Add the remaining pasta, splitting between the two bowls and top with ¾ cup of shredded Jack cheese each.

Sprinkle half the breadcrumbs over each one and place under the salamander or broiler.

Cook until golden brown, adding a pinch of chopped parsley to each bowl before serving.

*** Thanks for visiting and Bon Appetit!

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