I'm a long-time chowhound lurker, first time posting. My fate in an upcoming Macaroni and Cheese cookoff depends on you wonderful, knowledgeable hounds. Please critique my recipe below and help me ensure victory!
I have my hands on a rather good, yet quite boring Macaroni and Cheese recipe (see below). My roomate and her two incredibly gourmande grade-school aged children (7 and 10) believe it to be the best they have ever tasted. They challenged two friends who pride themselves on their M&C to a cookoff against me. They will be judging along with another friend.
Background information on the judges.
1) Adventurous, food-knowledgeable 40-something woman. Likes mild spiciness. Favourite cheese - Oka.
2) 10 year old child. Likes just about anything and everything except for "hot" flavours including black pepper. Favourite cheeses: blues.
3) 7 year old child. Can not tolerate anything "hot", less adventurous than her sister. Favourite cheese: Provolone.
4) (the REAL challenge) Late 30s man. The polar opposite of a foodie. Eats canned peas and turkey burgers every day for dinner (not an exagerration). No spice whatsoever (will eat basic Italian-ish herbs and garlic and that's about it). Probably a super-taster with a preference towards over-processed foods. Wants to be a judge most likely because of memories of Kraft Dinner (oy). Favourite cheese: mild cheddar.
I need to come up with a recipe that will appeal to all four judges. So far I have come up with the following. Please critique it and let me know if there is anything you can think of that would help improve my chances of winning!
Macaroni and Cheese
2 cups Elbow Macaroni
10 cups Boiling Water
2 tsps Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Chopped Onion
1/3 cup Butter
3 tbsp Flour
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Dry Mustard
2 cups Milk
¼ cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Grated Medium Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Grated Old Cheddar Cheese
½ cup Grated Smoked Gouda
4 tbsp Melted Butter
½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp Parsley
Grease 2 quart casserole dish.
Cook macaroni in salted, boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes and then drain (pasta should NOT be fully cooked).
Sautee onion in butter in large saucepan until clear and soft.
Sprinkle onion with flour, pepper, paprika and mustard. Cook for 1 minute (flour should not brown).
Mix and stir in milk and cheese until it boils and cheese melts.
Add macaroni, mix and turn into casserole.
Mix bread crumbs, melted butter, parmesan cheese and parsley and sprinkle on top.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.