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Recipe for mac and cheese-stuffed hamburgers with breadcrumb-crusted tomatoes

Serves 4

Reminiscent of grandma’s homemade baked mac and cheese casseroles, these burgers are garnished with tomato slices topped with toasted breadcrumbs. Key to the cheesy filling is a specially calibrated noodle-to-liquid ratio.

MAC AND CHEESE

Salt and pepper, to taste
¾cup elbow macaroni
1tablespoon butter
¼small onion, finely chopped
1clove garlic, finely chopped
1tablespoon flour
¾cup milk
1cup shredded cheddar
1cup shredded Monterey Jack

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1. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook for 8 minutes or until the pasta is tender, but still has some bite. Drain into a colander but do not rinse.

3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Sprinkle the mixture with flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes but do not brown.

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4. Stir in the milk and cook, stirring, until the mixture is smooth. Add the macaroni, cheddar, and Monterey Jack. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Pour the mixture into the pan, pushing it into the corners. Smooth the top. Refrigerate for 1½ hours or until set.

TOMATOES

½cup dry, unseasoned white breadcrumbs
¼cup olive oil
1large tomato, thickly sliced

1. Turn on the broiler.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and olive oil. Arrange tomatoes on a baking sheet. Gently press 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs onto each slice. Broil the tomatoes for 1 to 2 minutes or until the crumbs are lightly browned; set aside.

BURGERS

pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
4burger buns

1. Turn the mac and cheese out onto the counter. Using a wide lid or cookie cutter (2¾ inches in diameter), cut the mac and cheese into 4 rounds.

2. On a cutting board, lightly press ¼ of the beef into a thin disc (about ½-inch thick). Place a mac and cheese round on top of the beef and carefully wrap the edges of the meat around and on top of the stuffing mixture. Tightly seal the stuffing with the palms of your hands. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a stovetop griddle or large skillet. Set patties on griddle and cook for 7 minutes on a side, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, toast the buns on both sides.

4. Place a patty on the bottom of each bun, top with a tomato slice, and close the buns.

Adapted from “Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook”

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