22 February 2011

Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese definitely qualifies as one of my top comfort foods. This recipe is based on how my Dad taught me to make it.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • extra-old cheddar cheese
  • macaroni
  • milk, butter, flour
  • bread crumbs
  • green peas, bacon, shallot, mushrooms (optional)

Grate a big hunk of extra-old cheddar cheese (the white stuff preferably and the older/sharper the better) and set aside. While your macaroni is cooking, make a white sauce (aka Béchamel). The basic ratio is 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp flour to 1 cup of milk (or 2-2-1 for a thicker sauce, but since you'll be adding cheese, stick with the 1-1-1 ratio for this recipe!). How much sauce you make depends on how much macaroni you are making. I usually do a 2 cups of milk batch for a 9x13" dish of macaroni and cheese.

Make your roux (melt the butter, mix in the flour, and cook a bit), then slowly whisk in the milk. Bring it up to simmering and then turn down, stirring until it thickens. If you get lumps, whisk it vigorously to remove them. You can avoid lumps by pre-warming the milk and adding it slowly, so it blends evenly. Once the sauce is thickened, slowly add 2/3 of your grated cheese, stirring it in as it melts.

You can also optionally cook some delicious add-ins like green peas, chunks of bacon, chopped shallots, sliced mushrooms, or anything else you fancy in your macaroni.

Mix your cooked macaroni and cheesy white sauce and put it all in a baking dish. Stir in any add-ins. Top with the remaining 1/3 of your cheese, and add lots of bread crumbs to the top as well. Bake at 350°F or 180°C for about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling up and the top is nicely browned.

Macaroni and Cheese

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Photographs and artwork by Allison Gryski. © All rights reserved.


Rosie H said... Best Blogger Tips

Mmmmm. I'm hungry now. I might have to make macaroni cheese tonight. (But I am strange (or so people tell me) and don't like crunchy bits, so it will just be done on the hob.)

Now why is it, I wonder, that North Americans say "macaroni and cheese", whereas in the UK we say just "macaroni cheese"?