The best recipe for Macaroni and Cheese that I've made so far is the one recently published in Cook's Country Magazine (in the April/May 2007 issue). The texture is simply amazing - smooth but not runny, cheesy but without clumping or separating.
For the bread crumb topping, use 4 slices of white sandwich bread, 4 tablespoons (55 g) melted butter, 1/4 cup (35 g) grated Parmesan cheese.
The rest of the ingredients needed are 5 Tbs. (45 g) all-purpose flour, 1 lb. (450 g) elbow macaroni, 3 12-oz. cans (1 L) evaporated milk, 5 oz. (140 g) American cheese, 8 oz. (225 g) extra sharp cheddar cheese, 3 oz. (85 g) Monterey Jack cheese, 1/8 tsp. (0.3 g) ground nutmeg, 1 tsp. (3.3 g) ground mustard seed, 2 tsp. (12 g) table salt, 4 Tbs. (55 g) melted butter, and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of hot sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Bring four quarts of water to a hard boil. Dissolve at least 1 Tbs. (18 g) table salt into the water and add the macaroni. Cook until al dente (when the macaroni no longer shows white in center of the pasta when you bite into it but still has chew). Check the instructions on the package of your macaroni product and use the time listed as a guide. I generally start checking the macaroni a minute or two early to make sure I don't over cook it.
Once it's ready, ladle out 1/2 cup water to be reserved for the cheese sauce later. Immediately drain the macaroni and rinse it thoroughly in cold water to stop the cooking. This is one of the few times I advocate using a colander and rinsing pasta with cold water (in most cases, pasta used in casseroles benefits from this procedure).
Break the sandwich bread into chunks and pulse in a food processor with 4 Tbs. of melted butter and the Parmesan cheese until bread crumbs are formed. Set aside in a bowl for topping the casserole later.
Shred the American, Monterey Jack, and cheddar cheeses. I found this was done fastest by using the grating disc on my food processor.
Prepare a roux by heating (over medium heat) 4 Tbs. butter until it foams. Then stir in the flour and cook while stirring until light brown (about 1 minute).
Slowly add evaporated milk while stirring until all the evaporated milk has been added to the pot and no clumps of roux remain. Stir in the hot sauce, nutmeg, mustard, and salt.
Cook the mixture for about 4 more minutes on medium heat. The mixture (a béchamel sauce) should have thickened up.
Move the pot off the heat source and stir in the grated cheeses and 1/2 cup reserve water. Keep stirring until the cheese completely melts into the bechamel.
Stir in the cooked macaroni so that the sauce completely coats all the pasta.
Pour the macaroni and cheese into a 9x13-in. baking pan.
Cover the top of the macaroni and cheese with the bread crumb mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes (when the edges begin to bubble). Remove from the oven and let the casserole sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into it to serve.
Macaroni and Cheese Bake (serves 12)
|4 qt. (4 L) water||boil||dissolve||boil until al dente||reserve 1/2 cup water and drain & rinse macaroni|
|1 Tbs. (18 g) table salt|
|1 lb. (450 g) elbow macaroni|
Macaroni and Cheese Bake
|Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)|
|4 Tbs. (55 g) melted butter||cook while stirring until light brown (1 min.)||stir in slowly||stir in||remove from heat when thickened (4 min.)||stir in until melted||stir in until coated||pour into 9x13-in. pan||top||bake 25 min. 350°F (175°C)||let rest 10 min.|
|5 Tbs. (45 g) all-purpose flour|
|3 12-oz. cans (1 L) evaporated milk|
|1/8 tsp. (0.3 g) ground nutmeg|
|1 tsp. (3.3 g) ground mustard seed|
|2 tsp. (12 g) table salt|
|1 teaspoon (5 mL) of hot sauce|
|5 oz. (140 g) American cheese||grate|
|8 oz. (225 g) extra sharp cheddar cheese|
|3 oz. (85 g) Monterey Jack cheese|
|1/2 cup reserve pasta water|
|4 slices of white sandwich bread||pulse into breadcrumbs|
|4 Tbs.(55 g) melted butter|
|1/4 cup (35 g) grated Parmesan cheese|
My step son loves mac & cheese... I will make it for him when he comes back from holidays...
Thank you for sharing,
I think it actually might be immoral to produce these. I've never done it myself, but I'd sure like to know if you've tried it and if it was good. I think it would take a very well-done mac and cheese to stand up to being fried into wedges.
Oh wow, that sounds like it would be crazy. I'll have to make sure I have leftovers the next time I make mac & cheese so I can try this.
For those of you interested:
I like using saltine crackers as the topping, and instead of hotsauce, cayenne pepepr. Also, I love a mac-n'-cheese with lots of cracked black pepper. Mmmm......
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 pint heavy cream
wisk together and pour between several layers of macaroni and slices of 1 lb ea. pepper jack and sharp chedder. Bake at 350 for 30 min or until it starts to bubble. Warm gooey and o so satifsying! I like it best with ketchup!
I think the consistency of the finished product is dependant on so many things: the flour, the water content of the milk, the water content of the cheese, the time in the oven, etc., so it would surprise me if the chemically goodness of the American cheese really is what gave the right consistency.
Regarding fried mac and cheese, yeah, I think that is a sin. Hahaha, I don't want to imagine what result that has on the bad cholesteral meter. Thinking about it makes my heart start constricting at the moment! OUCH!
I think TGIFriday's sells the fried stuff, too!
I will add that my mother made everything from scratch. My husband had never had homemade mac and chz before me. What?! He's a convert. Though he still likes his Kraft.
Definitely not for an everyday meal, but might be do-able for a holiday meal.
it is usually called "Processed cheese" "Processed cheese slices" or just "cheese slices", or kind of like we refer to tissues as "Kleenex", we also refer to it as "Kraft slices" occasionally. Sometimes the slices are labelled "Cheese Product" too, because it is not really REAL cheese.
I am in Canada and no one has ever referred to it as American because that word is not on any of the packages, although they are identical otherwise. Strange that the word is added to the packages sold in the United States. I believe that American refers to the STYLE of the cheese - processing it into one-at-a-time slices. I think it was their idea to do this. (Of course, there is no such actual cheese as "American", like Gouda, Cheddar, etc.)
I make homemade seasoned pasta.
The cheeses I use are sharp cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, provalone, romano, asiago, cream cheese & parmesan.
Other ingredients are milk, butter, flour, chipotle, dijon mustard, liquid smoke, worsteshire, bacon, salt, mixed peppercorn & trisquits.
I'm afraid to know how many calories are in a 4 oz serving! :unsure:
It's my mission tonight to make the best mac and cheese I've ever consumed so your post will surely help me a lot. Thanks (;
Keep cookin' !
but yes it does well when made ahead BUT the cooling / reheating will make the sauce a bit thicker - so make it extra runny at the outset to compensate.
8 ounces in a cup.
Other useful tips:
2 Tablespoons in an ounce.
3 teaspoons in a Tablespoon
ounces (volume) is not convertible to ounces (weight) unless it's water or something of similar density. On Cooking For Engineers, we try to use ounces ONLY for volume to reduce confusion. All weight/mass is shown in grams. At the top of the page is a conversion text bar - just type in something like "5 ounces in cups" and hit Convert. We have "half cup in milliliters" in there by default as an example.
I tried the recipe substituting some leftover Fontina for American Cheese. I just couldn't bring myself to buying American Cheese. I did not have the right food coloring (and I didn't think that the kids would go for the leftover blue). My seven year old was VERY disappointed to find she liked it almost as much as the Kraft Krap. My four year old wouldn't touch at all. The adults, for whom flavor and texture actually mean something, though it was great.
Thanks for posting this. I've tried a few of the recipes you've posted and have yet to be disappointed. This was excellent.
Next time will sub for the American (had to use Kraft's slices. Lordy.)
Definitely a "repeat".
Nick F. Los Altos Ca
The Land O Lakes American cheese you get at a Deli counter is WAAAAAAAY better than Kraft slices. Doesn't even compare. I usually use saltines for the crust. Some mustard powder and chili flakes are great in it.
I used low fat, evaporated milk - White american, extra sharp white cheddar, and Colby Jack. Miam!!
I substitute Velveeta for the american cheese, and always turns out wonderful.
Thank you for the recipe, and the clear concise directions, will be a permanent addition to my recipe file :)
not really. there 3-4 "basic prep" stages - all dumb&simple.
once you've done homemade mac&cheese a couple times, it's like falling off a slow moving turtle - easy to do, doesn't hurt a bit.
I do the pre-cooked pasta (typically elbows, but not always...)
I make a roux - butter&flour comma slightly browned
I use milk to make a white sauce
if you want richer/smoother mouth feel, use a box of heavy cream + (later) water to adjust consistency
make the white sauce, melt in the cheese, adjust consistency....
not complicated, or?
the only significant diff in "condensed" vs "evaporated" milk is the sugar content.
which wheeze golly, I've never added sugar (or salt) to my mac&cheese, so no can comment to that.
I've been know to sweat down minced onion in the melted butter before making the roux.
but only when DW isn't watching.....
(things that likely make no difference in the end....)
I use dry mustard vs ground seed.
I use cayenne pepper vs hot sauce.
sometimes I do a bread crumb topping; other times no topping.
pan toasted homemade bread crumbs - veddy good approach.
thin sliced stale baguette, even more better, just press into the sauce.....
for one cup of (dry pasta - about 120g) I use 6 ounces (170g) of cheese.
aaahhh, should add,,,, liberally measured/scaled/seldom "under-weighted"
after getting real dang tired of "cheddar mac&cheese" I rather a bit overboard went working with 4-6 different cheese types.
since then I've learned max three cheeses is more than "really good"
so, altho cheddar is almost always present, the (more or less equal parts) balance can be swiss, muenster, edam, gruyere, provolene, butterkasese, whatever... some melt better/easier than others - but I found even hard cheeses that want to string and not melt smoothly make duper dang good mac&cheese.
so, just spread 'yer noodles and go fer it.