Mac & Cheese Throwdown

Last night we had a special Wednesday edition of FoodLab. Lauren has a Thanksgiving potluck lunch at work on Friday and everyone has been asked to bring a side dish. So she thought this would be a good chance to make Delilah's 7 Cheese Mac & Cheese from Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

The recipe:

  • 2 pounds elbow macaroni
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 6 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 4 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar, divided
  • 2 cups grated extra-sharp white Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Asiago
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup grated Muenster
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
The first thing we did was head to grocery store to check out these cheeses. Its a good thing I wasn't buying, because cheese is expensive. Gruyere is $8 a block. Block Asiago cheese is almost $6. Extra-sharp white cheddar was $5. You can see how this is going to turn out, and so could we. So we dumped the Gruyere, found store brand block cheese at 3-for-$5 for the sharp cheddar and monterey (pepperjack), found a small block of Muesnter for less than $4, used a bag of shredded mozzarella rather than the block. The only truly expensive cheeses we needed were the Asiago and Extra-Sharp White Cheddar.

Next we halved all of the ingredients because this was supposed to be dinner for two. In addition to that we figured out that we didn't want an egg souffle, so we used a quarter of the 12 eggs to make our half batch. Lastly we used milk instead of half-and-half, because we're not gross.

Half of that recipe filled a 13x9 baking dish to the hilt. It seemed as though it was going to be a little runny, but after baking it for an hour, the eggs did their job and firmed everything right up. In fact one more egg would have been too dry, and I probably would preferred a little more creamy balance in the cheese. So we probably need to adjust the milk or butter. I would never use 12 eggs for this recipe unless you'd rather end up with some kind of weird scrambled egg macaroni bake for dinner and breakfast. What it comes down to is that if you're used to eating Velveeta shells and cheese, this recipe isn't going to deliver a high-end version of that. This mac and cheese is more of a casserole you cut with a fork. In terms of price, if you make the original recipe you're going to end up with a $50 mac & cheese that serves 15-20 people. If you halve the recipe and catch a break on some sales, you can get two $16-20 meals that will feed a large and hungry family.

The half recipe make more than enough to feed 6 adults. I was disappointed and disgusted to see how much mac & cheese we had left last night. I'll enjoy it for lunch today and then swear off mac & cheese for a few months. This recipe is pretty good, but I can easily see why Delilah lost the Throwdown.


Rach said...

Wait...Bobby won? I always feel bad when Bobby swoops in with his team and wins. Mostly because its probably the only thing they have going for them & it reduces status from local culinary hero to local culinary chump who got destroyed in a competition that was supposed to be their niche talent. This recipe sounds delicious, but as I am lactose intolerant....I don't suppose this would bode well in my system. Also, don't be so harsh to those who use half & half....its only a heavier version of milk...not to mention that it might have helped with the creamy texture because of the higher fat content. I should start doing fun food labs.

baorao said...

Some half and half or heavy cream is cool. But 6 cups? thats over the line. I feel bad when Bobby wins too, but I knew Delilah was in trouble when she listed Velveeta as one of her ingredients. You should to food labs. Would Peter help? Lauren and I are making a Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake tonight which will be the subject of a future blog entry.

Dani said...

Wow, I only saw part of that episode, I wish I would have finished it to see what the crowd thought. My go to mac and cheese recipe is Ina Garten's that is stuffed with gruyere. Really tasty and more of a creamy version than a casserole.

Rach said...

omg, I can't wait to hear about the turtle cheesecake...another forbidden food item LOVED by me. I don't know if Peter would want to do food labs with me. Not because he doesn't want to spend time...but I don't think he enjoys food prep like me. I think he just like to sample the final product. Not to mention that whenever he tries to help I start to hover like a helicopter and get all irritable when I have to explain something when it would be easier and take less time for me to just do it myself. I do, however, feel I've made some progress with him in that he is willing to watch a few shows on food network...but I think this is mostly b/c he found out his man-crush Brian McBride also likes food network.