Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Croque Monsieur Macaroni & Cheese

This one right here was put together after having a conversation with an old boss of mine from my music industry days. Without a doubt one of the coolest and most influential people in not only my life but in this World that most people have never heard of, is a gentleman named Côme Chantrel. When I used to work at LOUD Records, every afternoon we would get lunch and he would order a Croque Monsieur sandwich from this little café in Beverly Hills while we would power through all of the hustles that had to be perfected by weeks end so that we could enjoy the fruits of our labor.
I recently spoke with Côme on the phone after both going in separate directions as many friends and co-workers do when companies change ownership and just laughing about old times, made me think of the simple things in life, like how a good sandwich and profound conversation can really change your outlook on life.

Taking cues from the ingredients in the sandwich we flipped this beauty into a delicious bowl of Macaroni & Cheese. I hope the big homie, Côme enjoys this, wherever he is surfing the world and doing the fly sh!t that he always does.

Thanks for everything boss.

(click Read More for the entire recipe)
½ lb ziti
2 cups milk
2 cups coarsely grated gruyere cheese (about 6 oz)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (about 4 oz)
2 large eggs
3 slices white sandwich bread, roughly diced
2 TBS unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 TBS all-purpose flour
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
8 oz thinly sliced deli-boiled ham

Preheat the oven to 425° degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the ziti and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a large bowl; toss with 1/4 cup milk.
Meanwhile, combine both cheeses in a bowl.
Beat ¼ cup milk and the eggs in another bowl; fold in the bread and add half of the cheese.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over high heat.
Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until just brown, 2 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour, cayenne, nutmeg and 1 tsp Kosher salt; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.
Slowly add 3/4 cup water and the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk; bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.
Remove from the heat and whisk to cool slightly.
Whisk in the remaining cheese, then add the pasta and toss.
Butter a shallow casserole dish.
Add half of the pasta, top with some of the ham and cover with the remaining pasta.
Top with the remaining ham, then cover with the bread mixture.
Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Let rest a few minutes before serving.

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