Mac and Cheese with Cracker Crumble

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To create a mac and cheese with the silky consistency of Velveeta, but using a flavorful, aged cheddar, chefs and brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio add sodium citrate to bind their cheese sauce. “Sodium citrate will be your new best friend for cheese sauces,” says Bryan. “It gives you that creamy, melty, gooey texture, but with nutty, sharp cheeses that don’t typically melt smoothly.” Think of the nacho cheese possibilities! Slideshow: More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes 

Mac and Cheese with Cracker Crumble
Snow day and every day, mac and cheese hits the spot. To create a mac and cheese with the silky consistency of Velveeta, but using a flavorful, aged cheddar, chefs and brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio add sodium citrate to bind their cheese sauce. Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
Yield:
6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound radiatore pasta

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon sodium citrate (see Note)

  • 1 pound aged extra-sharp cheddar, preferably Tillamook, shredded

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 cups crumbled buttery crackers, preferably Ritz

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and sodium citrate to a simmer. Whisk in the cheddar, 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth. Whisk in the Worcestershire and the salt. Pour the sauce over the pasta.

  3. In a bowl, mix the crackers with the butter, Parmesan and pepper; sprinkle over the pasta. Bake the mac and cheese for 20 minutes, until bubbling and the top is browned. Let stand for 5 minutes; serve.

Notes

Sodium citrate is available on amazon.com. To make this recipe in eight 1-cup ramekins, halve the crumble and bake the mac and cheese at 375 F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

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