My first recipe! Oddly enough, it’s not the very first one I learned, but it is the first one I made all by myself. So, enjoy!
- 1 cup of the following grated cheeses:
- Swiss Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 cups Cheddar Cheese (you’ll see why later)
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups of whole milk
- 1 pound of macaroni
- Large pot (cook the macaroni)
- Balloon whisk
- 1 – 1.5 inch glass baking dish
- Smaller pot (making the cheese sauce)
- Spatula for getting the culinary napalm (cheese sauce) out of the pot and onto the macaroni
- Preheat your oven to 355 – 360 degrees.
- Fill the large pot with water and crank the heat as high as it will go.
- When the water reaches a boil, add a good pinch of salt and then add the macaroni. The salt is there to add flavor to the macaroni as they cook. Stir once in a while so that the macaroni doesn’t stick. They’ll hit al-dente in about 8 or 9 minutes. Don’t let them get past al-dente, because they still have a date with the oven.
- In the smaller pot, at medium-high heat, melt down the butter and then add the flour. These MUST be in EQUAL portions. This is a roux; a classic French thickener for anything from sauces to soups. Whisk until it looks like wet sand and smells a little nutty.
- Add the 2cups of milk and continue whisking until all the clumps of the roux disappear. Bring the heat down to a simmer. This is now a Béchamel sauce; another creation from those culinary crazies the French.
- Stir in all the cheeses, but leave half of the cheddar for later. Keep stirring until everything is melted and the cheese sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. NOTE: the sauce at this point is very thick and very hot. BE CAREFUL.
- After about 5 or 6 minutes of simmering and stirring, the sauce should be done so kill the heat. At the same time, if you’ve played your cards right, the macaroni should be done also. Kill the heat and drain.
- CAREFULLY (I can’t stress this point enough) combine both the macaroni and the cheese sauce, making sure the macaroni is thoroughly drained. Any bit of water in this and you’ll have a cheesy soup.
- Grease up the bottom and sides of the baking dish with no-stick spray or melted butter and pour the cheesy mass into it and smooth out the top. Take the remaining cheddar cheese and sprinkle it on top.
- Slide the whole thing into the oven and bake for 30 – 45 minutes, or until the top is melted and slightly crisp.
- Let is cool for a few minutes before serving.
Now, a little side note. This recipe can be augmented in any way, and I mean ANY way. For example, I redid this recipe and steeped some garlic cloves in the milk as it simmered. It added a very nice depth of flavor throughout the whole dish. I’ve seen TV chefs add all sorts of things; lobster, bacon, veggies. While all those do sound delicious, I would advise only adding one ingredient at a time. any more and the dish becomes a casserole and, while delicious, it’s not Mac n’ Cheese. Well, there you go folks! I hope you enjoy!