Macaroni and Cheese

Posted on: November 13th, 2010 by admin 4 Comments

An American classic.  I never had it until this week and I am over 30!  I know outrageous.  How can I have missed out on this creamy fatty mess of cheesy goodness?  It reminds Beans of his childhood, in fact you ask almost anyone in North America (and elsewhere I know) and it reminds them of their childhood too.  Somehow even though I have an American mother, I missed out.  We were more of a pumpernickle kind of family if you know what I mean.

I wanted a classic simple recipe, one that was as easy as possible and didn’t stray from the classic ingredients much.  I want the real thing (but not kraft) I don’t want gruyere or blue or parmesan (although I know these would most likely really enhance it).  I want the cheddar goodness, even if I am about to trip back to Australia for summer and a swimsuit that will likely not appreciate this recipe.

If there was anyone all American I could turn to, I knew it was Pioneer Woman.  She has a couple recipes for mac and cheese, but when I read this one, I knew it was mine.  A couple of minor adjustments and here it is!  How could I have waited so long? (for Aimee ♥)

  • 4 c dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c (1/2 Stick) butter
  • 1/4 c plain flour
  • 2 1/2 c whole milk
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 4 c (1 lb) cheddar cheese, grated (yes you can use some jack, parmesan, gruyere etc)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme

Cook the macaroni just a little so that it is still very firm. It should be too firm to eat right out of the pot, cooked for 3-5 minutes. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter and whisk in the flour, so that no lumps form.  Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly, this is called a roux.

Pour in milk and add the mustard still whisking until smooth. Cook for another five minutes or until thick, then reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking egg. Whisk together till smooth.  Then pour this egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly again. Stir until smooth.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Reserve 1 cup of cheese and stir the rest into the pot to melt.  Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt as needed! Make sure you add enough salt, you really don’t want this to be bland.  Mix in the drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.  Pour into a buttered baking dish and top with the extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Song for this recipe:

“Mack the knife”  Frank Sinatra Mack the Knife (Live At Radio City Music Hall, June, 1990) - Sinatra: New York (Live)

This was my favorite song as a kid, which I think disturbed my mother a little and rightly so.  It was originally from an old German opera Die Dreigroschenoper,  the Threepenny Opera, but later made popular by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and others.  I think such a classic American dish requires listening to a classic American voice, and really, that’s Frank.

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4 Responses

  1. Love a good mac and cheese. I’ve found you cannot make this low fat so when I make it I go hard core on the full fat cheese and milk. This version looks very cheesy and delicious :)

  2. admin says:

    True – there is no sense to low fat mac and cheese – it’s like trying to make chocolate healthy

  3. Sarina says:

    Snaps to you! I only made this for the first time in my life too last night – must be planets aligning or something. I felt pleasure mixed with guilt with every mouthful – not sure I can make this again until I have walked off the damage (maybe in five years??)

  4. admin says:

    I know – I can feel the cheese just going from my mouth to my thighs… But I think it’s worth it!!! xo

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