The blogosphere needs another Mac ‘n’ Cheese recipe like a hole in the head

There are a trillion gazillion macaroni cheese recipes out there in the ether.  Sod it, I am not competing with the gazillions.  This is my blog and I will jolly well put up here whatever I like.  So, below are all the things I happen to know about making Macaroni Cheese.  People seem to like it, or at least, they eat it without negative comment to my face.  BTW, I have deliberately not written this like a traditional recipe, I am not entirely wet behind the ears, it is an experiment.  Enjoy!

Macaroni Cheese
Macaroni Cheese made with Tricolore Pasta

  • 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 this 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 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, dont 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.
  • 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 anotheer 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.
  • 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 can congeal and dry up and is disgusting.
  • Leftovers, contrary to what some people may tell you, are not suitable for frying up for breakfast, unless of course you are already on death row, in which case, go for it big time, it’s gotta be better than the alternatives coming your way.

Happy eating….

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