Updated January 2018
This recipe is a grilled/broiler version, i.e. no-bake. Heresy, you say? Yup. Still tastes fantastic.
There are a trillion gazillion macaroni cheese recipes out there in cooking world, but it doesn’t matter, this one, for all its indulgent high fat sin, is all mine.
I wrote this up in a different way, a sort of experiment in talking through a recipe to myself as I make it, I hope it makes sense.
So, all the things I know about making Macaroni Cheese, please find below. People seem to like it…Enjoy!
Serves 4. Mac n’ Cheese is highly calorific made with the ingredients outlined below. You can use reduced fat milk, low fat cheese and parmesan, the taste is not the same but taste is subjective anyway and low fat cheeses vary. I have found one low fat cheese in Waitrose that makes a nice cheese sauce. Life is trial and error, is it not?
- Make the sauce from scratch with 50g butter, 50g flour and 600ml, 1 pint of milk. Do the whole “make a roux” thing. Look up how to do this if unsure and make sure you cook the flour/butter mix long enough before adding milk or the sauce will forever have a floury taste.
- Use whole milk, the blue top kind in the UK, as semi-skimmed can separate.
- Do not leave the sauce alone, you need to keep stirring and whisking, a big balloon whisk is the thing to use.
- Don’t attempt to make this with your last pint of milk, as the sauce can curdle and you have to start again, and that is bad enough without having to run out to the shops.
- When the sauce has thickened, which can take at least 5 minutes of stirring, if not longer, temper a beaten egg i.e. take some of the thickened sauce and pour slowly into the beaten egg, then add the eggy mix to the sauce. This avoids the scrambled egg scenario and it makes the sauce velvety and warm and rich like you wouldn’t believe, and is well worth a small heart-stopping moment to make sure it doesn’t curdle.
- For a picante, yummy sauce add in a generous, heaped teaspoon of French Dijon mustard before the cheese goes in.
- And add a rounded teaspoon of celery salt, ditto.
- Stabilise the sauce and make sure it is not lumpy or separating before adding the cheese, it’s a lot cheaper binning milk and flour than all that cheese.
- For the cheese, don’t scrimp (you need at least 300g for 4 servings).
- Use strong flavoured, mature cheddar, grated coarsely.
- Keep back a handful of grated cheese from the sauce for the topping.
- Pasta verde shapes or pasta tricolore shapes make the whole thing look more interesting. Plain white pasta in Mac ‘n’ Cheese can look really bland.
- Cook the pasta, 75g per serving, and try to time it so it ready to drain as the sauce is finished.
- Make sure the cheese has melted properly into the sauce, this can take another few minutes of stirring.
- Then add to already cooked pasta that you have drained into a Pyrex dish or casserole.
- Make sure the sauce covers all of the pasta, mix it round and level the dish by shaking it
- Mix the remainder of the cheese with about 50g of Parmesan if you have it to sprinkle on top with grated black pepper. Add breadcrumbs for extra crunch if you like. Some thin sliced tomatoes can be placed on top, too.
- DO NOT BAKE, put under a medium-hot grill instead until the cheese becomes a bubbling, golden wonder, this can take 15-20 mins.
- Serve immediately, it does not like hanging around as it congeals and then dries up.
- Leftovers, if there are any, do not keep well.
Happy Mac n’ Cheese!