Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recipe: Zingerman's Mac & Cheese

I recently took my team on an overnight staff appreciation trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan – easily one of my favourite “foodie” towns in the USA.  From K/W, the trip takes about 4 hours door-to-door, but it’s well worth the drive if you’re into food the way we are!

Ann Arbor has a great vibe – it is home to the University of Michigan and its school spirit can be felt all across the city.  The city hosts numerous art fairs throughout the year, has great shopping, nightlife and is very walk able.  There’s a plethora of incredible restaurants and food shops to choose from – my favourites being Trader Joe’s (a specialty food/grocery store), Shalimar (amazing Indian food), Eve (upscale French) and Zingerman’s.

Zingerman's Delicatessen opened more than 25 years ago and over the years, they have expanded their business from the single deli to include a mail-order business, restaurant, bakery, creamery, coffee company, school, catering company, and food tour company.

The food is amazing – not inexpensive but I always leave full and with the feeling that I received good value for my money.  I was excited for my team to experience the “magic” of their food and their fantastic customer service while we visited four of their businesses:  the deli, roadhouse, creamery and bakery.

Dinner at the Roadhouse was the highlight – and one of the favourite things we shared was their incredible pasta with smoked chicken, sweet corn, green chilis and Monterey jack cheese.  They’re known for their full-flavoured, from scratch macaroni – they offer a minimum of 6 varieties on the menu.

Here’s their basic mac & cheese recipe, from the book: “Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating”, published in 2003 by Ari Weinzweig.  Keep it simple or dress it up Zingerman’s style!

Zingerman’s Mac & Cheese


§         coarse sea salt
§         1 (one) pound macaroni, preferably the Martelli brand (you can find this at Vincenzo’s)
§         2 (two) tablespoons butter
§         1 (one) medium onion, coarsely chopped (about one cup)
§         1 (one) garlic clove, peeled and bruised with the side of a knife
§         1 (one) sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary
§         ¼ (one-quarter) cup dry white wine
§         2 (two) tablespoons flour
§         3 ½ (three-and-one-half) cups whole milk
§         2 (two) tablespoons Dijon mustard
§         freshly ground black pepper to taste
§         12 (twelve) ounces extra old cheddar cheese (about 4 ½ cups)


1.       Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and stir well.  Cook for about 10 minutes (if using Martelli) or until the pasta is 2 to 3 minutes from being al dente.  You’ll want it underdone so that it doesn’t get mushy in the oven.  Drain and set aside.
2.       Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and reduce the mixture until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.
3.       Remove the garlic, thyme and rosemary from the pot.  Add the flour, stirring constantly.  Cook for a minute or so more while you continue to stir.
4.       Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumping.  When the flour and milk have been completely combined, stir in the mustard and some salt and pepper.  Keep the mixture at a gentle simmer (not at a high boil) until it thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Working a handful at a time, stir in 3 cups of the cheese.  When the cheese has melted into the sauce, remove the pan from the heat.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
5.       Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce.  Pour it into a 9” by 13” baking dish and top with the remaining 1½ cups of grated cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden. Serve hot.

No comments:

catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets