Master Recipes by the Editors of Food and Wine

Master Recipes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Like a Pro by The Editors of Food & Wine appeals equally to new and experienced cooks. The new cook will love the step-by-step approach and process photos to guide them (homemade ricotta, roasting a turkey). The experienced cook will also love those points but more as a way of perfecting their skills and perhaps even expanding upon them (make your own ramen noodles, croissants).

The book is organized by levels. Level One wherein you master basic cooking skills such as macaroni and cheese, biscuits, pickling, etc. Level Two takes us up a rung to pulling our own mozzarella, sous vide techniques and soufflés. Level Three is geared toward intermediate work such as perfect challah, meringue, sausage making and more. By the time you reach Level Four, you are ready to make your own ramen noodles, tofu and beautifully pleated soup dumplings. 

Master recipes include the Ice Cream Birthday Cake, Pork and Crab Dumplings, Tempura and more. Making a turkey for the first time – it’s here, fried chicken, sauerkraut and French onion soup. Make ahead tips and wine suggestions are offered as well. Food & Wine does it again with another book that will be sure to be a classic. 

Special thanks to Oxmoor House for sharing the recipe below with our members. Once you are done here head to our contest page to enter our giveaway for one of three copies of this book. 

Macaroni and Cheese with Buttery Crumbs

Everyone has an opinion on what makes the ideal macaroni and cheese. New York City-based cookbook author Grace Parisi prefers a classic American version that’s rich and creamy thanks to a quick béchamel. Small chunks of gooey cheddar and Colby flavor the dish throughout, while a sprinkling of buttery breadcrumbs gives every bite a terrific crunch.

Time 45 min active 1 hr 30 min total

Makes 6 servings

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter,
plus more for greasing
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2½ cups half-and-half or whole milk
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ lb. Colby cheese, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. elbow macaroni
¾ cup plain dry breadcrumbs 


Preheat the oven to 350°.  Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (First photo). Add the half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add half of the cheddar and Colby cheeses and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg and cayenne; season the cheese sauce with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the elbow macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain very well. Return the macaroni to the pot.  Add the cheese sauce and the remaining cheese and stir until combined (Second photo). Spread the macaroni in the prepared baking dish.

In a small glass bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a microwave. Add the breadcrumbs, season with salt and black pepper and stir until evenly moistened. Sprinkle the buttered crumbs over the macaroni and bake for about 45 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top (Third Photo). Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The assembled dish can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

WINE suggestion: Buttery, full-bodied Chardonnay. 

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  • lgroom  on  June 24, 2017

    I guess I'd give myself about a 3. I'm an excellent cook but with the exception of bread, I do very little baking. My mother and a couple of my sisters are so good and my husband didn't care for sweets, so I just never bothered doing it. I need to learn some basic things to make.

  • Siegal  on  June 24, 2017

    Hmm. On a scale of 1-10 I would give a 7

  • annmanning  on  June 24, 2017

    I'm an average cook, but can definitely follow a recipe. I think that is a 6. I'm a better baker than a cook.

  • love2chow  on  June 24, 2017

    Moderately advanced. Better at stirfries, main courses and vegetables than desserts or baking.

  • heyjude  on  June 24, 2017

    I'll be interested to see what level I'm at.

  • jezpurr  on  June 24, 2017

    On a scale of 1-10 maybe a 6!!!^_^

  • elysek  on  June 24, 2017

    I would say I'm a 3. I'm not quite ready to make my own tofu but I am proficient at things like bread and meringues.

  • PennyG  on  June 25, 2017

    I consider my skill level to be above average – mostly because almost none of my friends really like to cook – so I seem like a rock star in the kitchen!

  • FireRunner2379  on  June 25, 2017

    I would consider myself an intermediate cook and always strive to be better. Being in the kitchen always makes me happy!

  • RSW  on  June 25, 2017

    book smart time crunched intermediate that will try anything

  • cocecitycook  on  June 26, 2017

    I'm an experienced home cook,no one ever turns down an invite to eat at my house!

  • annmartina  on  June 26, 2017

    I've already made my own ramen noodles, dumplings including the wrappers, ricotta, caneles, Danish, croissants, etc. The more challenging a recipe looks, the more interested I usually am.

  • sgump  on  June 26, 2017

    My skill level as a cook? Intermediate or so. . . .

  • matag  on  June 26, 2017

    Experienced social cook

  • lhudson  on  June 27, 2017

    I am a middle of the road cook but would love to try the
    Beef medallions with bacon and morels

  • Uhmandanicole  on  June 27, 2017

    I'm an amateur cook/experienced home cook. I am not too bad if I say so myself!

  • dbielick  on  June 27, 2017

    Intermediate to advanced depending on the type of cooking

  • abihamm  on  June 27, 2017

    Intermediate cook….Expert Baker

  • kelliwinter  on  July 2, 2017

    I don't want to sound pretentious but I consider myself to be a baker first and a chef second

  • kitchenclimbers  on  July 5, 2017

    I would say I'm an intermediate to advanced home cook

  • ltsuk  on  July 6, 2017

    Really good at some things (baking mostly), average on most cooking.

  • annieski  on  July 9, 2017

    Intermediate solid although a bit better when interest and challenge intersect

  • tarae1204  on  July 9, 2017

    Very comfortable getting food on the table, but I've hit a wall when it comes to not wanting to try certain things like frying, yeast-based baking, and roasting expensive proteins.

  • klrclark  on  July 17, 2017

    I would consider myself above average but far from excellent, but that's my rating scale.

  • JenJoLa  on  July 19, 2017

    I think my skill level as a cook is intermediate.

  • hirsheys  on  July 20, 2017

    I'm also intermediate. I've done some challenging stuff, but mostly because I didn't know enough to be intimidated.

  • camtncook  on  July 22, 2017

    People tell me I'm a very good cook…

  • thewoobdog  on  July 24, 2017

    I'd say I'm an intermediate cook – I'm comfortable cooking without recipes but there's a lot of cuisine I've never attempted.

  • AnnaZed  on  July 26, 2017

    I think I'm about a 7 (bragging!) my only real weakness is bread; and that only sometimes.

  • BethanyMeira  on  July 27, 2017

    I am an intermediate cook. I can make a good dinner without a recipe, but don't really care to make my own pasta and bread 😀

  • KarenDel  on  July 27, 2017

    Very experienced. At one time I worked running a health food deli

  • LaurenE  on  July 28, 2017

    I like to think I'm pretty competent as a cook

  • orchidlady01  on  July 28, 2017

    I am a good cook. Not a chef but better than average.

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