Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Hybrid" macaroni cheese

Mac and cheese (or as I've sometimes seen it called in British cookbooks, "macaroni cheese") is an old favorite. My mom used to make a casserole type - she would make like a custard with eggs and milk and cheese (and she put cut up onion in it, which I didn't like so much) and bake it in the oven, so it could be cut into "blocks" and served that way.

The more common way you see now, I think, is a stovetop kind - either the instant mix from a box (which is kind of terrible, at least to someone raised on homemade mac and cheese, and which is also too high in sodium for me these days). But the stovetop kind IS faster.

And I got to thinking today: why not do the stovetop kind, but then bake it in the oven for a bit. And hey, why not do it in my mini cocottes?

So here is the recipe I used. I kind of just did it by the seat of my pants but was VERY pleased to find I got just the right amount of stuff:

1 cup elbow macaroni, cook as directed (I use a kind with some whole grain and some legume flour in it so it's less starchy)

Then, make a medium white sauce:

3 T butter, melt it in a saucepan
Add 2 1/2 T flour, combine

Stir in (gradually!) a cup and a half of milk you have slightly warmed (I used mostly evaporated milk, which seems richer without being fattier).

Stir over medium low heat. Add seasonings. I used a pinch of dry mustard, a couple of shakes of Cholula chipotle sauce, and a generous amount of smoked paprika. If you can have salt, by all means add some salt. Or whatever else you like.

Add about 6 ounces of shredded cheese; I used Tillamook's "Mexican blend" that was pre-shredded.

Drain the macaroni and add them. Portion out into four greased mini cocottes, place in a large pan that you can use as a bain-marie (fill it with water up to about 1" below the top of the cocottes).

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Here they are before I filled the bain-marie:

ready for the oven

I'm especially pleased that it was just the right amount. Often when I make pasta or rice, I wind up with way too much and have a bunch leftover and then have to find a way to use it in the coming days.

That's a little more smoked paprika on the top of them.

The bain-marie probably isn't ESSENTIAL but I didn't want the edges to get crusty.

It came out quite good. The sauce....lacks a little something though.. I don't know what. Pepper, maybe? (probably also salt, or probably next time I should use a nice sharp cheddar in there).

And of course, if you like add-ins, you can do them - chopped pepper, or bacon, or ham, or bits of tomato (I think some chopped up bits of fresh tomato would be good) or lobster or whatever.

finished mac and cheese

1 comment:

purlewe said...

Looks delicious!!!

I have a friend who puts brocolli in her mac n cheese..