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Raid your fridge for a mac 'n cheese makeover
Bare Bones Mac 'N Cheese Tasting Table Test Kitchen
The ultimate leftover: mac 'n cheese

A nub of Stilton here, a Gouda rind there. Party's over. Your cheese plate's been destroyed. But don't toss out those glorious odds and ends. René Redzepi has his "trash cooking" at Noma. We salvage cheese leftovers and transform them into leftover gold. 

1. Humboldt Fog; 2. Parmigiano Reggiano; 3. Taleggio; 4. Gorgonzola; 5. Gruyère
Mac and cheese is a cheese hoarder's delight and it's easy: Start by melting butter and flour (a roux in Frenchytalk); whisk in some warm milk until it thickens (oh hello, béchamel), add the rumps and remains of whatever cheese you've got left in your fridge and you've got what culinary school instructors call a Mornay sauce (feeling fancy yet?).

Then you just fold in some good quality cooked pasta--preferably something with a ridged or rough edge to hold the sauce well.

Our bare-bones version has sharp cheddar (see the recipe), but the idea is to use what you've got. Go wild with your wedges: Fontina and Gruyère melt well, but you can throw in P'tit Basque, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano and that luxurious Vacherin Mont d'Or (which you should never waste anyway). Soft, semisoft, hard--use everything but the hard rinds.

Blue cheese works too, in moderation: a combination of sharp and mild is a safer bet. Pair Taleggio with Humboldt Fog, or Roquefort with Gruyère.

The variations: Bouquet garni, hot sauce, dry mustard, bacon, artisan pasta & brioche breadcrumbs
Now that you've got your base, it's time to start thinking upgrades (see above photo): a fragrant bouquet garni, a shot of hot sauce, a hit of mustard powder, bacon crumbles, an array of pasta shapes and maybe even a topping of crisp brioche breadcrumbs.

A better mac and cheese: It's what's for leftovers.

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