Macaroni and Cheese

I am always encouraging people to try making mac and cheese from scratch; it’s really easy, and employing the methods of making it (like making a roux) are really good and versatile skills to have as a home cook. For example, you will now know how to make alfredo (or any other cream sauce) as well as nacho cheese sauce, which I made a while back [click here for the recipe].

Anyhow, I figured I should post on how to make it once and for all!

Two things you should know going into this post:
1. I made this on Sunday night before we ripped out the kitchen, and most of my kitchen utensils and food items were already packed. I didn’t buy anything special for it; I only used what I had (that’s how great this recipe is!) I also didn’t want to turn on the oven, meaning I never baked this, and it was still delicious!
2. I have never made this the same way twice; I’ll try to point out when you can get creative in the recipe.

I’m going to start you with a printable basic recipe that is a good one, from my idol Martha Stewart:
Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese

 Make roux:
1. melt butter

 2. Your first chance to be creative: you can saute finely chopped onions in the butter, garlic, or mustard powder. I chose garlic. Make sure to cook it for a very short amount of time. In fact, I think Gordon Ramsey would scream at me for the brown-ness of the butter in this pan…but it’s the stove! Not me!

3. Add flour (you’re getting measurements from the recipe, no? I didn’t measure anything, but you should if this is your first time. Also, I’m sure no one cares, but I use whole wheat white flour in ALL of my cooking, in case you were interested.

3. Add your milk and/or cream. Sometimes I use heavy cream and milk, sometimes just heavy cream or half and half, and at home, just 1 or 2% milk. This is the part of the roux that freaks people out. The flour is clumpy and looks weird, but just whisk it!

4. Ignore the brownish tint – once the flour is whisked into the milk it will make a nice, thick sauce base: this is the roux. Allow it to bubble slowly and thicken before adding your cheese.
Now add cheese!
I used a cheddar-monterey blend and mozzarella, because that’s what I had. I typically use anything like extra sharp cheddar, white cheddar (but always some orange for color purposes), gruyere, havarti, blue, gorgonzola…anything that looks good. My favorite was a wood-apple-smoked gruyere I found once.
This is your other creative time: you can add Worcestershire sauce (unless I’m coming over for dinner: I hate it) dry mustard powder (if you haven’t already), Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, black pepper, etc.

Mmm this is making me hungry!

 You can, of course, stir add-ins if you like them. Suggestions: chicken, bacon/ham, peas…

Typically, I’d add bread crumbs (Martha advocates making them yourself, and I’ll admit: they are great! Although I typically will use pre-made from Trader Joe’s. Italian breadcrumbs are also delicious. You can then add more cheese (this is where I’d throw in a strong cheese like gruyere and another “hard” cheese; maybe parmesan or romano.) You can drizzle 1 tsp. of olive oil over the crumbs for moisture, and I will recommend garlic olive oil or even truffle oil if you have it!

Bon appetit!

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2 Responses to Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Cooking |

  2. Pingback: Smoked Mac ‘n Cheese |

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