At Food & Wine, we're passionate about City Harvest, the organization that aims to help feed hungry New York City children and their families. To support the amazing group, editor-in-chief Dana Cowin conceived the Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger campaign, which asks people to donate the money they would typically spend on one day of lunch to City Harvest and help feed the estimated one in four New York City schoolchildren who face hunger every summer when free school breakfasts and lunches are limited.
Debuting today, the organization's first cookbook, City Harvest: 100 Recipes From Great New York Restaurants, features amazing recipes from top New York City chefs and restaurateurs, plus useful suggestions for transforming leftovers into second helpings. Among the fantastic dishes are Tom Colicchio's roasted beet salad, Cronut genius Dominique Ansel's warm pistachio molleux, and Murray's classic macaroni and cheese (below). A portion of the proceeds from each cookbook sale benefit City Harvest.
Murray's Cheese Bar
Classic Macaroni and Cheese
Murray's, the premier cheese store in New York, opened a cheese-oriented café a couple of years ago, and mac and cheese is one of the specialities. The complexity of this dish results from the mixture of cheeses used in it.
1/2 small onion
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces raclette, shredded
3 ounces Comté, grated
8 ounces elbow macaroni
5 ounces farmhouse cheddar, grated
1/2 cup panko (coarse bread crumbs)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Cut a slit in the onion half and poke a bay leaf in; stick the cloves in the onion. Place the milk in a small saucepan and add the onion. Bring the milk just to a simmer and turn off the heat.
Place 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic, let it sizzle briefly, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook briefly. Remove the onion from the milk, then gradually pour the milk into the pan, whisking all the while. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg, cayenne to taste and black pepper. Stir in the raclette and Comté, cooking until smooth. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the macaroni and cook until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Fold all but 1 ounce of the cheddar into the macaroni, toss to distribute it, then stir in the cheese sauce. Season the mixture with salt and more pepper if desired.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Use a dab of the butter to grease a 2 1⁄2-quart baking dish. Melt the remaining butter in a small skillet. Add the panko and cook on medium low until it begins to color. Fold in the remaining cheddar, the thyme and the lemon zest. Remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the macaroni mixture into the baking dish. Smooth the top and scatter the panko mixture on the surface. Bake the casserole for about 20 minutes, until it starts to bubble and the panko is golden brown. Serve.
Cook’s Notes There are variations galore to be attempted here; penne in place of macaroni for one. As for the variety of cheeses, the options include Parmigiano Reggiano, Gouda, Beaufort, Manchego, Gruyère, Pleasant Ridge
Second Helpings Any leftovers can be refrigerated, then cut in slices and sautéed to serve alongside meat dishes or eggs. Fried mac and cheese is particularly suited to accompany barbecue.
© CITY HARVEST: 100 Recipes From Great New York Restaurants by Florence Fabricant, Rizzoli New York, 2015.
Images from CITY HARVEST © Noah Fecks.