mac and cheese
December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
So I have a new dish to add to “The List”.
I assumed this would be easy, a no brainer, a dish I’d be able to make with my eyes closed.
I’m guessing you know where this is going.
I had a decent recipe for a mac and cheese but I lost it. It was a good one, just missing a little something; I was sure it would be a great base to experiment with. I can’t remember what was in it or anything specific about the technique because I never actually made it. Confused? Don’t be, I never made it because Sam always did, it was kind of her thing. Chicken cacciatore and sausages in mushroom soup gravy were her specialties too, that’s some of our college menu in a nut shell. Oh the days of non consequential carb overloading, how I miss them. My impatience bit me in the butt again; I should have just asked Sam for the recipe, she was just down stairs.
I started with google…whoa, cheese overload. There was 4 cheese or all cheddar, blue cheese and goat cheese, Dijon or dry mustard, some that swore by the addition of an egg. Then there was the add ins, geesh; caramelized onions or bacon , brocoli or peas, tomatoes and on and on. You can’t give a girl like me that many choices or I may never make a decision. My first time in a Marble Slab I left without any ice-cream because I was to overwhelmed with options, I had 25 fellow Pride Parade goers in front of me, a line up of more out the door behind me and walls of endless flavor combinations, we’re lucky my head didn’t explode. So in an attempt to leave with ice-cream this time, so to speak, I thought it best to start off with something basic. Humph, so much for that.
I think it may have been the thickness of the sauce, I should have added more milk to thin it out. Once the al dente noodles were baked they’d soaked up all the moisture in the sauce. I was left with perfectly cook macaroni but instead of the creamy, cheesy, “Mmm” inducing sauce I was hoping for I got a kind of chunky, greasy sauce; I use that term lightly , it was defiantly more chunky than saucy. With a description like that I’m sure I’ve just made this dish sound extremely appealing, no?
It wasn’t a complete loss; after we all ate, ahem, two (and maybe another half in spoon fulls straight out of the dish) helpings I think I figured out the missing components. Besides a thinner sauce I’m convinced that it’s all about the cheese; there needs to be more than one type in there, otherwise it ends up rather one dimensional. Then there’s the bread crumbs or no bread crumbs debate from which I started out neutral. This recipe didn’t call for any and I missed them in all their crunchy buttery glory so as it stands I am declaring myself pro bread crumbs.
So I will post this recipe encouraging you to mess with it a bit. Please let me know how it turns out if you give it a try. I’d add at least another 1/2 cup of milk to the sauce or reduce the amount of cooked noodles by 1 to 2 cups, use two or three types of cheese and for the love of all things buttery, use some bread crumbs. You could also just skip the baking part and boil the noodles until they’ve cooked all the way, drain, add sauce and just serve it from the stove top.
So really, what I’m saying is…here’s a recipe for mac and cheese but don’t follow it…see Cory(O) I told you.
I’ll try another one again before this Christmas season is over but I thought it best to give my thighs some time to evenly distribute that first pound of cheddar before I pile on any more.
Hey Sam, can I get that recipe?
Not the best mac and cheese I’ve made, from Pioneer Woman
- 4 cups dried macaroni
- 1 whole egg, beaten
- ¼ cups butter
- ¼ cups flour
- 2-½ cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons (heaping) dry mustard, more if desired
- 1 pound cheddar cheese, grated (I used an Aged Cheddar)
- ½ teaspoons salt, more to taste (I used kosher because that’s what i had)
- ½ teaspoons seasoned salt, more to taste ( I didn’t have any so I just used more kosher salt)
- ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
1. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water (leave it firmer than usual, it’ll soften up more as it bakes)
2. In a small bowl, beat egg.
3. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Don’t let it burn (like I did the first time).
4. Add milk and mustard whisking until smooth. Cook until thick and pasty, about 5 minutes then reduce heat to low.
5. Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Add this to the rest of the sauce and stir until smooth
6. Add in cheese and stir to melt.
7. Add salt and pepper.
8. Drain macaroni and add to sauce, stir until all combined.
Pour into a buttered baking dish sprinkle on some of the extra cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden on top, 20-25 minutes.