Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mac and Cheese Anyone? (The evolution of a recipe)



I knocked it out of the park with the mac and cheese this weekend. I made the most awesome mac and cheese and I didn't have an awful lot of the ingredients in the recipe, which was in Best Recipes.

So let's call that a jumping off point--and a good lesson in not letting something like INGREDIENTS keep you from making a finished dish (Caveat: This doesn't apply to baking. Be precise, please, or you'll get my failed scone of last Thursday)...

Steps:
1. Whir about 4 slices of whole wheat bread in a food processor. Toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and place in 350F oven on baking sheet. Forget them until you smell ...toast. Run to rescue them. Some will be toastier than others. Remove from oven. Stir crumbs well. No one will notice the "toastier" ones.
2. Cook whole pound of elbow macaroni. Cook VERY al dente. Drain, toss with olive oil and keep guests from eating it plain if you can (you only need half a pound, so you don't have to be too militant).
3. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of flour. Realize you don't have any milk. Mix up skim milk from milk powder. Slowly add about 3 cups of milk to roux (that's your butter/flour mix), stirring well to keep lumps out. Cook until thick. Remove from heat. Add about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and heaping teaspoon of grainy Dijon mustard. Whisk to cool a bit. Whisk a whole egg in a small bowl, then add it slowly to the white sauce (bechamel), whisking as you do so the egg doesn't scramble.
4. Grate all the cheese in the house. This means you'll grate about 6 ounces cheddar and 4 to 5 ounces Monterey Jack.
5. Butter small baking pan, one just large enough to hold 1/2 pound cooked mac (just checked: this pan is 11x7 inches by about 2 inches deep). Add 1/2 pound cooked macaroni to saucepan with bechamel. Stir in almost all of the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Pour this all into the prepared baking pan. Top with the little bit of cheese you held back and top this all with the bread crumbs.
6. Place macaroni in oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling. Eat. Eat lots. And talk about how your daughter just ate FRIED mac and cheese as an app. And know that it would taste so good, but right now, this is just perfect.

6 comments:

Annie Logue said...

Oh, that does sound good. I will have to try it. Or maybe I'll make my husband and kid make it for Mother's Day.

Annie Logue said...

Oh, this sounds good. I will have to make it. Better yet, I'll have my husband and kid make it for Mother's Day.

Anjuli said...

It sounds amazing- and of course you are one of those amazing chefs that can cook with whatever you have...I go insane if I am missing an ingredient...throw up my hands and declare I am no longer able to cook the dish...you've given me some hope here!!!

Sara Lancaster said...

There's nothing better than a rock solid mac n cheese recipe. I made one with bacon and OH MY. I think about it all the time, but try not to make it too often for obvious reasons :)

Sue Ann Bowling said...

Sounds complicated to me! I find that when I want mac and cheese (or potatoes and cheese) I cook a measured amount of macaroni (or bake a small potato, preferably a fingerling, in the toaster oven) mix with cut up cheese, and stick it in the microwave to melt the cheese! Of course that's for one diabetic. Might try adding the mustard, though--we have some wonderful Moosetards up here.

Barb Freda said...

Sara, I've done a bacon and three-cheese combo (thank you Barefoot Contessa--it was delish)...and you're right. This cannot be a frequent indulgence for obvious reasons...

I am reasonably confident I could have eaten the entire pan.

Sue Ann--try the mustard. It adds a nice tang--cuts some (SOME) of the richness...