Restaurant Recipe: Gold Nugget's Mac & Cheese

As the first snowflakes fall (in early October...really, Minnesota...Really?) cravings for creamy, cheesy comfort foods are not to be ignored.  Luckily, chef Joel Del Fiacco from Minnetonka's Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille was kind enough to share his fabulous Mac & Cheese recipe.  The ooey, gooey goodness, made with Gruyere, Parmesan, and Cheddar cheeses is a must-have at a restaurant usually known for its burgers and fries.  At under $10 a serving, it's worth the drive to Minnetonka.  However, if say, an early autumn blizzard sets in and driving conditions become less-that-favorable, take a stab at the recipe at home.  Joel's instructions (below) makes this stuff seem easy.

First of all, for the cheese sauce, you'll need:

A couple of handfuls of cooked pasta
2 oz  butter
2 oz  all-purpose flour
2  C  heaving whipping cream
2  C  whole milk
6  oz  shredded cheddar cheese
2  oz  shredded gruyere (or swiss) cheese
6  oz  cream cheese
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper

And for the breadcrumb crust:

2  C panko (Japaense bread crumbs)
1/4 C melted butter
1 Tbls chopped parsley

Melt first 2 oz of butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour and cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.  Slowly add heavy cream while whisking until smooth.  Add all cheeses and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat and cook on low for 20 minutes, while continuing to stir frequently.  (Frequent whisking in the key to success in this recipe.)  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Yields 2 quarts of sauce. (Which is more than you'll need for a single serving of the pasta.)

Mix together ingredients for panko crust.  Again, you'll have enough bread crumbs for a couple of servings of the pasta.

To prepare a single serving of mac & cheese:

In a saute pan, add 6  oz of cheese sauce and 4 oz of heavy cream.  Toss in a few handfuls of cooked pasta and bring to a boil.  Add cheese and pasta to a baking dish and top with bread crumb topping.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

And there you have it, folks-- a nice, "Hot Dish" of Mac & Cheese without ever having to brave an expected, Minnesota snow storm.


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