martha's mac and cheeseNothing says comfort food like macaroni and cheese. Just the thought of it makes me hungry for a big, heaping, cheddar-stretched spoonful.

For the longest time, I thought it was a classic that just couldn't be improved upon. That is until my cooking lesson with Martha Stewart. That's right, MStew herself. Gearing up for her new PBS show Martha Stewart's Cooking School, the Domestic Diva took a break to show me how to whip up an amazingly creamy, mouth-watering, no-bake update on mac 'n' cheese. I promise, it will be the easiest and tastiest take on this dinnertime staple that you've ever had. Check it out ...

Ingredients for Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese:

1/2 pound dried elbow macaroni, rigatoni, or penne

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups whole milk

1/2 cup finely grated Italian fontina cheese

2/3 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese

1 2/3 cups finely grated extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch of white pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add pasta; salt generously and cook pasta to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.

2. Melt butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until bubbling but not browning, about 45 seconds. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon (scrape across the bottom and around edge of pot to prevent scorching), until thickened and smooth. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

3. Add fontina, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and black pepper, add cayenne and nutmeg, and stir to combine.

4. Add pasta to sauce along with white pepper and salt; stir to thoroughly combine. Serve immediately.

 

Image via David M. Russell/Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia