For this author, the toasty bits on top are the best part!
Also known as beurre noisette, brown butter might sound like one of those fancy-schmancy culinary terms only trained chefs can execute. But that couldn’t be further from the truth; it’s easy to do right at home with a watchful eye and some patience. The process entails melting and cooking down butter until its proteins brown and develop a nutty, toasty character—and it’s just the thing to add dimension to the already-indulgent mix of milk, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese. After a quick trip under the broiler to give the mixture a welcome char, it’s ready to serve—dig in right from the skillet, if you please. (Don’t worry, nobody’s looking.)
Brown Butter Mac & Cheese
- Serves: 4-6 servings
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time: 1 hour
- Difficulty: Easy
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups full milk
- 3 cups water
- 1-pound elbow macaroni
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp. mustard or mustard powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat an oven to the broiler setting, or about 500F.
- In large (preferably oven safe) pot or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the butter until brown and nutty, about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and whisk, cooking for 3 minutes or until the flour loses its raw flavor and the brown butter has slightly thickened.
- Add the milk and water to the pot, stirring continuously to ensure no lumps form.
- Add the pasta and cook, stirring continuously for about 6-8 minutes, or until the noodles are just al dente and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Turn off the heat and add in all of the cheese and the mustard or mustard powder.
- Stir until all the cheese has melted and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mac & cheese to an oven safe dish, or keep in oven safe skillet (if using).
- Place in the broiler for 2-4 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and charred in parts.