Project Description

This is one of the first recipes I ever learned, and I LOVE Mac & Cheese! When I was growing up my mom made the best Mac & Cheese, and she taught me her recipe. She got it from a friend of a friend of a friend… you know the type! Over the years of eating delicious Mac & Cheese at home and restaurants, I figured I could improve my moms recipe. I have made some minor changes, and the improvements make for a really creamy + tasty dish! Joanne, my wife, loves Mac & Cheese night!
Mac and cheese served on plate with salad

CHEF

Matt McDougall

SERVINGS

8

CUISINE

Italian

DIFFICULITY

Easy / Fast

Somethings to note about this recipe: This recipe is made in 2 parts, Part 1 is making the sauce (roux – pronounced *rooo*) and boiling some pasta. Part 2 is baking it in the oven. You are looking about 1 hour all in on time. You can skip the baking step and it will still be delicious. There are lots of ways to pack some flavour in the roux, and I will give some suggestions in the notes at the end of the recipe. However, I have never made this recipe the same way twice, and this is really a base. Get clever though and flavour the roux however you like. If you don’t season, which maybe to your liking, it will taste like straight up cheese, and while that sounds delicious, it will be really rich to eat. Alternatively, once you are comfy with this recipe, you will realize it is extremely easy to modify and get some of your own flair in it.

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WHERE DID MAC & CHEESE COME FROM?

So who came up with the idea to combine elbow macaroni with creamy cheese to create this simple, yet perfectly complementary concoction? As you might expect, mac and cheese traces its roots to Italy, home of many culinary delights. The “Liber de Coquina,” or “Book of Cooking,” an Italian cookbook from the 13th century, includes a recipe called de lasanis that foodie historians believe is the first macaroni and cheese recipe. The recipe calls for sheet pasta cut into 2-inch (5-centimeter) squares, cooked in water and tossed with grated cheese, likely Parmesan [source: Wright].From then on, macaroni and cheese grew in popularity across Europe. In colonial America, casserole dishes similar to today’s mac and cheese were served at New England church suppers, where they probably originated from “receipts,” or recipes, passed along from English relatives. The dish was primarily reserved for the upper classes until the Industrial Revolution made pasta production easier.

SOME FUN MAC & CHEESE FACTS

  • Kraft Sells One Million Boxes Of Mac And CheeseA Day. …
  • Macaroni and cheese connoisseurs (yes, apparently there is such a thing) recommend pairing your delicious, cheesy meal with a glass of Chardonnay.
  • Pick the right pasta. There’s a reason why purists swear by shell pasta and elbow macaroni–these two types have the right amount of surface area for the cheese to hold on to. Long, thin strands like linguine can’t handle the amount of cheese coming their way and are better suited for sauces like tomato and Alfredo.
  • The best macaroni and cheese has more than one type of cheese. By combining cheeses that melt well with others that have a signature, rich taste, you get the best of both worlds.

LET’S MAKE: MAC & CHEESE

STARTING GUIDE
  • Course: Dinner / Side

  • Prep: 5min

  • Cooking: 15-55min

  • Total Time: 20 – 60min

  • Calories: 441 kcal

  • Saturated Fat: 15g

  • Carbs: 34g

  • Protein: 21.1g

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 Cups – Macaroni Pasta

  • 4 Cups – Cheese (I suggest Cheddar and Swiss 3:1 mix) just make sure the cheese you use melts well.

  • 4 Tblsp – Butter

  • 3 Tblsp – Flour

  • 3 Cups – Milk

  • 1 tsp – Nutmeg

  • 1 Can – Evaporated Milk (you can omit this, if you are not baking. This is key to getting creamy consistency when baking)

GUIDE / INSTRUCTIONS
NOODLES & ROUX
  • Get a large pot of heavily salted water boiling on the stove top. Once boiling, add pasta and reduce heat to medium high and stir occasionally. cook for 7 minutes, and drain. If you are choosing not to bake, cook the pasta to directions on box.
  • While pasta is cooking, get a medium saucepan, and start to melt the butter on Medium heat. While it is melting toss in your seasonings (I generally use about a Tblsp prepared mustard, lots of pepper, a couple drops of Worcestershire sauce). Let that cook for a couple minutes. The butter will start to take on the flavour. Add in the flour, and with a whisk, mix the flour and butter together. It should not have any lumps and have the consistency of a thick paste. let the flour cook for a minute once combined. Continue stirring with whisk, and add milk and nutmeg. regularly stirring until mixture starts to thicken. take off heat and let cool (if you are not baking, keep the sauce warm on low heat)
  • IF BAKING: Add the can of evaporated milk to the roux, mix together. in a large baking dish, add the pasta, and cheese. Mix together well. Pour the roux on top of pasta cheese mixture. Should look like this pre bake.
  • IF NOT BAKING: in the original noodle pot add noodles, sauce and cheese. mix until cheese is melted into the sauce. Serve, and enjoy!
BAKE
  • Pre-heat oven to 375º
  • Place covered dish into heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • At 30 minutes, remove cover and stir the dish gently. Stirring the dish helps to combine the fat content that maybe floating into the dish. If you want to add some bread crumb to the top now is the time to do it. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  • once baked, let cool for 10 minutes before eating. Enjoy!
NOTES
Things that you can use for seasoning: pepper, mustard, garlic, worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, hot sauce, onion, and brown sugar. use any of these sparingly. Mix and match, and enjoy!

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