Vadouvan Mac and Cheese
Aug 23, 2009
This Vadouvan Mac and Cheese recipe was just two votes shy of winning the People’s Choice Award for the SF Food Wars Mac Battle Royale with Cheese. Today’s contest had 20 contenders in a fun and lively competition. (If you’re curious, check out more about the Food Wars series on their site.)
As I mentioned in my last post, vadouvan is an incredibly fragrant Indian spice blend. Vadouvan elevates everyday dishes and adds indescribable flavor.
What I love most about this recipe, is how we combined a staple dish like mac and cheese with an exotic and unknown spice blend. East meets West. And, even though most people wouldn’t know vadouvan by name, the dish had universal appeal at the mac and cheese competition.
Here is what the crowd said:
”We know the spices are Indian, but they are not overly powerful.”
”It has a really nice kick at the end.”
”The cheese combination of gruyere, white sharp cheddar and pecorino romano really compliments the spices.”
”The crisp bread topping makes the texture unique.”
||slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
||tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
||cup all-purpose flour
||teaspoons kosher salt
||tablespoons vadouvan spice blend
||teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
||tablespoon ground chipotle
||cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
||cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 ¼ cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
||pound elbow macaroni
||Vadouvan spice blend recipe
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, vadouvan, ground chipotle, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 ½ cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.
Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 ½ cups cheddar and ½ cup Gruyere or ¼ cup pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.
Loosely based on Martha Stewart Mac and Cheese
Main Course and Pasta