How to convince your friends you’re good at cooking: Mac ‘n’ Cheese


Welcome to the very first official recipe, how to make a delicious mac and cheese!

First of all, thank you to everyone who read and gave me feedback on my first article on seasoning, please keep the feedback coming and let me know if there are any cooking skills or recipes you’re dying to know!

Below, you will find a video showing the exact method of how I make a mac ‘n’ cheese, including step-by-step instructions on making a perfect white sauce every time. This article will give you the exact ingredients I used if you want to follow my exact recipe, but will also give you some information on cheeses so you can customise your own once you have the skills down!

There will also be a small section on some of the, what I’m going to call “Cupboard fillers” that weren’t included in my seasoning guide, but I still think are incredibly useful to have in any cupboard.

So aprons on, hands washed, and let’s start cooking!

Key skills taught: How to make a Béchamel/White Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 250 ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Cheese
  • macaroni (enough to almost fill your baking dish)
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Worcester sauce
  • Nutmeg
  • Oil

 

Method:

  1. Dice garlic and grate cheese
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  3. Part boil macaroni in water with a pinch of salt and some oil until almost cooked. Drain and set aside.
  4. Melt butter in pan on medium heat
  5. Add garlic to melted butter with half a teaspoon of paprika, stir with whisk and let it combine for 30 seconds
  6. Add flour and whisk in until a paste forms. Allow to cook for 30 seconds to a minute
  7. Add milk a bit at a time, whisking until combined before adding any more
  8. Add the sour cream and combine
  9. Add a pinch of nutmeg and whisk in
  10. Add cheese in small batches, whisking until it completely melts in
  11. Add the Worcester sauce, Dijon mustard and sour cream
  12. Taste sauce and add salt and pepper to taste
  13. Add part cooked pasta to sauce and mix together until all the pasta is coated well
  14. Pour into baking tray
  15. Sprinkle over more grated cheese
  16. Crush tortilla chips into crumbs and sprinkle over top
  17. Bake for 20 mins or until top is golden and crispy
  18. Allow to sit for 5-10 mins before serving

Recipe Video:

 

Cupboard Fillers:

Worcester sauce:

One of my favourite ingredients and always in my cupboard. Worcester sauce is an umami bomb, basically meaning it brings out the savoury flavours of stuff it in giving food made with it a real oomph. Worcester pairs perfectly with any cheese dish as well and any dish that can do with a huge hit of savoury deliciousness, like stews, tomatoes, marinades, beef and even baked beans. You’ll be seeing Worcester in a lot of my recipes so its definitely worth buying.

(disclaimer: normal Worcester is not suitable for vegetarians, although there is vegetarian Worcester sauce available)

Nutmeg:

Nutmeg has a very distinct taste and aroma. Mostly used in desserts and cheese dishes, it’s worth having around if you have a sweet tooth or are a fan of a cheese sauce. You can buy nutmeg pre-ground which works fine, but grating your own nutmeg is better if you have the time.

Flour:

Flour doesn’t really need an explanation. It’s used in so many recipes that having a bag of it in your cupboard is almost essential. There are, however, many different kinds of flour, so for general use I’d recommend plain flour.

Dijon Mustard:

Dijon mustard (and other mustards) are not essential, they are simply used for flavouring. Each mustard has its own unique flavour so the only real way to know if you want to put a dollop in or on your food is to taste it. Dijon, however, is a bit different, ’cause its used as an ingredient as much as a condiment, providing a little head and a beautiful savoury mustard flavour.

Sour cream:

I want to start by saying that sour cream is a good ingredient but not something you always need to have. The reason I have put this here is because I’m a fool and forgot to mention why I used it in this mac and cheese. The milk I used for this was semi skimmed, so in order to add in more dairy fat to make the sauce richer and creamier I added sour cream. If you are using whole milk you can skip this step.

Cheese melting guide:

Below is a brief guide on how different cheeses melt. Creamy melters will melt directly into the white sauce, thickening the sauce but not affecting texture, simply imparting the flavour of the cheese into the sauce.

Stringy melters will not blend with the sauce, rather create stretchy, stringy gooey cheese which can provide an interesting texture in your sauce that some people love.

Non melters will just sit in your sauce and do nothing.

A cheese sauce requires at LEAST one creamy melter: this will make it a cheese sauce rather than a béchamel with some cheese melted in it. You can mix and match as much as you want to create your perfect cheese flavour. Anything else is optional and comes down to you, want your sauce to have more of a melted cheese texture? A bit of stretch? Add a stringy melter! Although I would not recommend adding a non melter as it won’t really do anything for the sauce.

Creamy melters:

Cheddar

Blue cheese

Brie

Camembert

Edam

Gouda

Gruyere

Swiss

Stringy stretchy melters:

Mozzarella

Provolone

Non melters:

Feta

Goats’ cheese

Halloumi

Ricotta

Cheese curds

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