MmmmMac n’ Cheese

Scandalous and delicious, perfect comfort food for the colder days. Below is the basic recipe I use for all my mac n’ cheese adventures however if you want to throw some veggies in this dish I highly recommend mushrooms and red bell peppers. Just saute them in some butter before adding the flour and continue the recipe as is.

Mac n’ cheese is on of those things you can really play with, have fun changing the cheeses to compliment the flavors.

If you like spicy food, add 1 jalapeno chopped, 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped with some chipotle canned chilies and saute them in butter. When I do this I always use a strong cheddar, a white organic is very good. Serve with salsa or leave out bowls filled with taco toppings so everyone can individualize their own plate.

I love mushrooms and they seem to hold up to the heartiness of this dish.  I like to use a combination of portobellos and button mushrooms and sometimes criminis. I  use thyme and pepper to spice it and add in some Brie or Gouda to my cheese mix, and top it with Parmesan.

Traditionally I remember my family adding canned diced tomatoes before placing in the oven. You can make add canned or fresh ones or try adding roasted garlic and basil to the mix right before you bake it. Sundried tomatoes are a great option too and if you go that route why not throw in some feta or goat cheese?

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 4-5 cups macaroni
  • 5 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced roughly
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk, you may need a little more to thin out the sauce
  • 4 cups of a mix of cheese, you may need more if you like loads on top (I like old cheddar, something creamy like brie, edam or gouda and at least 1/2 cup mozzarella for the stretch factor)
  • 1 generous tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • a couple of splashes of hot sauce
  • 2 green onions diced for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

Pre-heat oven to 350F

In a large pot boil the water for the pasta, salt well.

Once the water ready for the macaroni, dump and and start preparing the cheese sauce. You want to make you have shredded the cheese, have the milk on the counter and garlic diced.

In a large pot heat the butter over medium heat. Once it’s melted stir in the flour, whisking well as well as the garlic. Slowly cook it at least 2-3 minutes until it just starts to brown. Watch carefully you don’t want wallpaper paste.

With your roux slightly browned slowly add the firts 1/2 cup of milk and mix well. The mixture will thicken up  after you let it cook for a while. Continue to add the milk while mixing and letting thicken in intervals. This process should really only take about 5 minutes.

Add the mustard, hot sauce, and pepper. If you like you could also add herbs and other spice sin at this time. Slowly add the cheese ( about 3 cups) one handful at a time and stir until it’s melted. Once all the ingredient are combine taste for salt/flavor content and add if needed.

The pasta should be cooked aldente and sitting in the strainer at this time. Add all the pasta in and coat throughly.

Make sure you have a well sprayed/greased baking dish ready and turn out the cheesy goodness into. Top with green onion and remaining cheese.

Pop in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, until it’s bubbly and just starting to brown. Enjoy!

Topping

Bread crumbs, Parmesan and approximately 1 cup of shredded cheese. You can also use store bought or homemade croutons, grind extra pepper on top and use different cheeses.

Preheat oven for 350.

Boil water for pasta an cook accoridng to package directions.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour. Stir constantly until butter flour mixture starts to brown, this might take  up to 5 minutes.

Slowly whisk in milk and spices. Once mixture begins to thicken add small handfuls of the cheeses until you reach a unified consistency.

Drain cooked pasta, and add to cheese mixture. Coat completely then transfer into a medium-large baking dish. Cover with breadcrumbs parmesan, pepper, and extra cheese and bake about 30 minutes, until everything is brown and bubbly.



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