Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9/28/09 - Mac & Cheese

Well after a hard day at work (coming down with a cold it seems and a ton of things to get done for a 9AM call), a torture session at the salon (trust me you don't even want to know!) and getting caught in a downpour at the grocery store before I was able to get all the ingredients for my beef & barley soup (that's getting postponed till tomorrow...sorry!) so thankfully I had a plan B ready to go...... mmmmm Mac & Cheese even the just saying the name makes me feel all warm and better! Sometimes a simple easy dinner is the best!

I think this batch of mac & cheese is one of the better ones I have made... most likely cause I was a little preoccupied and let the roux brown up a little to remove any of the starchy taste from the flour. I made this recipe with more of a mild adult flavor... I wish I had some bacon to start things up but since I was dependant on what was in my pantry for the night I just went with a basics and a bit of garlic and bread crumbs for an added touch. However you can take this basic recipe and spice it up with meats (ham, bacon, even tuna!), veggies (broccoli, spinach, other leafy greens - just blanch them first!) or spices (hot sauce etc)

Mac & Cheese
1 box elbow or other shape pasta (this was a fun new shape for me but I can't for the life of me remember the name! it was like a lined rigatoni elbow with a twist -ish)
3 c skim milk (or what ever % you use)
1/2 c flour
5 tbsp butter (about 1/2 a stick)
1 c aged gouda - grated
1 c gruyere - grated
1/2 c chedder - grated (I added this in since we had some really nice farm cheese that was in danger ofg going bad!)
1/4 c provolone- grated (this is a sharp one so make sure you like it!)
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

1) in a large pan cook pasta in salted water according to instructions and drain
2) in med sauce pan melt butter over medium heat
3) using a tbsp sprinkle flour into butter and stir until combined
4) let bubble over medium heat until slightly browned (BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN!!!!!) - keep watching and stirring! (about 5-10 min)
5) in a glass bowl/ measuring cup heat milk in microwave (or on stove top) for about 5 min or until hot
6) slowly add milk to roux while stirring about 1/4 c at a time and then mix until combined
7) once all milk is added let sauce come to a slow boil and thicken
8) keep stirring so that bottom does not burn and add grated cheese (about 1/2 a cup at a time)
9) season with salt, peppers and garlic powder to taste
10) toss sauce with pasta, stir in bread crumbs for some texture and serve

FYI.... on of the best ways to reheat this is in a frying pan with a splash of milk it will make the sauce nice and creamy again!