Thursday, September 6, 2007
An All-American Classic - Mac -n- Cheese
This has to be the easiest recipe that I have ever made for my family. The best part of it is that it is so versatile. You can add meat, veggies or just about anything you like to provide a variety. You can also switch out the cheeses and add a more exotic cheese for an even fancier dish. It's a favorite in my house with everyone, not just kids.
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 1 turn of the pan in a slow stream
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, a couple pinches
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked 8 minutes or to al dente, with a little bite to it
Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts into the oil, add flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about 3 minutes. Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk. Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese a handful at a time. Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne. Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce. Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top.
P.S. The bolded part of this recipe is what is called "making a rue." It is so simple that anyone can do it. I am going to post this weekend all the different things you can do with a basic rue base.