Monday, November 10, 2008

Mac & Cheese

At long last, here is my Mac & Cheese recipe. It's not fancy, but it certainly gets the job done. Unless, of course, you are lactose intolerant. Sorry Becky! This can be made with any firm cheese. I usually use sharp cheddar, but I've found a mix of garden-variety cheddar and smoky English farmhouse cheddar is very good.

1 lb macaroni
5 Tbs butter (salted)
5 Tbs flour
3 cups milk
0.5-0.6 pound cheddar cheese, grated (Trader Joe's English Coastal is delicious)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Put the baking dish in the oven to preheat it.

Put water for pasta on the stove. When it is boiling, add the pasta, cook until al-dente, and drain.

Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer on medium-low heat (try not to scald the milk). As the milk is heating, melt butter in a saucepan or saucier pot on medium-low heat. When it is melted, whisk in flour to make a roux. Whisk and cook for a few minutes. Slowly pour in hot milk, whisking constantly to keep lumps from forming. Keep whisking while the sauce is cooking; if it starts to boil then turn down the heat. Add cayenne (adds a nice kick!), nutmeg (apparently a hint of nutmeg brings out the j'ne sais quois-ness of the sauce), and several drops of worcestershire sauce to taste. Grind in black pepper and salt to taste. After 5-10 minutes the sauce should thicken. When it has thickened, turn heat to low, and add the grated cheese and mix it in.

Take pre-heated dish out of the oven, and pour in sauce (it will probably boil a bit).  Put in macaroni and stir thoroughly.  Grate cheddar and parmesan cheese on top.

Turn oven to 375F (conventional) or leave at 350F (convection).

Put it in oven for 30 minutes.  Enjoy a tasty, non-low-fat treat!

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