Macaroni and Cheese with Grilled Mushrooms
- 1/2 lb. button mushrooms, stems removed
- 1/4 C. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs. flour
- 2-1/2 C. whole milk
- 1-1/2 C. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1/3 C. breadcrumbs
Place the mushrooms in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the mushrooms to coat them evenly. Grill over direct/medium heat using a perforated vegetable grate, 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Place the mushrooms in a food processor and process until finely chopped. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, stir and cook until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to high. Add ½ C. of the milk, whisking constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the rest of the milk and whisk occasionally. When the mixture comes to a second boil, add the mushrooms, lower the heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese. Stir to combine. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until it is almost done but still slightly undercooked (see package for recommended times). Drain the macaroni; pour it into a 3-quart, heavy-gauge metal baking pan. Pour the cheese mixture over the top. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Sprinkle breadcrumbs in a thin layer over the top. Cook over direct/medium heat until the breadcrumbs turn brown and the cheese mixture is bubbling (15 to 20 minutes), stirring once or twice to prevent scorching on the bottom. Remove the hot dish from the grill with potholders or oven mitts. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: 4-6 servings.