As you all know, I’m a man of the people. I’m a giver, a doer, and an all around upstanding person in society. So when someone suggested to me that I make macaroni and cheese, would I say no? No, I’m just that type of guy.
You’re probably thinking to yourself – “nossi, the real reason you made mac n` cheese is because you’re a glutton on the verge of morbid obesity…” well, you’d be partly correct, but the main reason is like I said earlier, I’m a man of the people, and my people have spoken, and requested macaroni and cheese.
Warning: The following contains butter, if you have a heart condition, are lactose intolerant, or last/maiden name rhymes with “shmaber” you might want to consult your doctor before moving on.
First grab a box of your favorite macaroni, and boil em up.
Now onto the cheese – the main star of this show.
Start by making a roux. A roux (pronounced – roo, like rooster) is equal parts (by weight) of flour and an oil (ie butter/margarine, and technically any oil, but I’ve never tried another type) mixed together over heat. As the butter melts, it coats the flour, and heats it up.
This whole shebang does two things – one it adds the flavor of the flour (which has to be cooked a little to prevent it from tasting too mealy), but it also does something else – it adds thickness to any sauce, which isn’t necessarily an easy thing. You can’t just add a starch (ie flour) to whatever and expect it to thicken up, so one of the ways to add it to a sauce to thicken it, is by making this roux. This coats the flour with fat, thus preventing the water from the sauce, which you’re adding this to, from getting into the starch and gelating it too soon (in real english – you aint gonna get no clumps in yo gravy if you do this).
Rouxs are a whole subject of it’s own, and there are many different types of rouxs, ranging from different colors, each with a distinct flavor, and with a different property of cooking (the more you cook it, the darker it gets, and the shorter the starch chains are, so the less it will be able to gelate water, and the more you will need to thicken your sauce…what? you don’t read On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee in your spare time?)
Anyway – now that we have our roux, we can make a bechamel sauce, which is roux + milk (with salt and pepper, and some whatever spices you want to add). Some people like to warm the milk up first, so you don’t scald the milk when you pour it into the hot pan, but here, I just took some cold milk, and poured it in slowly (“temper”), and once the dish was a little cooled down, I poured the rest in. I added salt and pepper, and because I think it goes really well with mac n cheese, I also added mustard powder.
You have to make sure to mix really well, or you might form clumps, so yeah – do that.
Now for the cheesy part – I love cheese, and it makes all the difference when I grate my own cheese. There’s a huge difference in taste, and texture than the pre-shredded stuff. So I took a block of mozzarella, and some monteray jack cheese, and grated them
I turned off the heat to my bechamel sauce, and added the cheese and mixed it all together.
I added my cooked noodles, and stirred to combine.
Poured it into a baking dish, and topped with panko bread crumbs, and baked for 25 minutes.
Mac n` Cheese
- Box of Macaroni
- 1/4 cup butter (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup flour (2 oz)
- 1 cup milk
- ground mustard
- Monteray jack
- Panko bread crumbs
- Cook the pasta, drain and set aside
- Make the roux – Put the butter and flour in pot, and stir to combine
- Make the bechamel – Pour in the milk..start off slowly (if you don’t heat it up first), and then add the rest, making sure to stir the whole time, to avoid any clumps
- Add the salt, pepper, and ground mustard
- Turn off the heat, and add the cheeses, and mix to combine
- Add the cooked noodles, stir, and pour into baking dish
- Top with bread crumbs
- Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes