Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dump Cheese in a Pot Mac & Cheese

This snowy weather makes me just want to sit in front of the tv and eat mac and cheese. It's my form of winter hibernation. My mac and cheese is soo creamy and cheesy. I tend to make it from memory so each time it's a little bit different. And the measurements don't have to be exact, just make it to your taste. So here it goes... my recipe:

Dump Cheese in a Pot Mac & Cheese

4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 small onion (grated on a box grater)
1 clove grated garlic (since the garlic is small I use my microplane to grate)
3 cups milk (or heavy cream or half & half, whatever you have)
1/2 to 3/4 lb. of American Cheese (ask for it in a chunk instead of sliced at the deli counter)
1-2 cups Cheddar Cheese (or any other type of your favorite cheese)
1 cup Pecorino Romano
1 lb. of pasta
Bacon crumbles (optional)

On medium temperature, melt butter in a pot and add grated onion and garlic. You'll want to grate the onion and garlic so it kind of melts into the butter so you don't oniony chunks in your mac and cheese. Let the onion and garlic cook in the butter for 5 minutes until bubbly.

Add the flour to make a roux. Let the flour and butter cook for another 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of milk or heavy cream or half and half... whatever you prefer. (Obviously heavy cream will make it much richer. I tend to use half heavy cream and half milk.) Mix with a whisk and let milk and roux thicken. Approx. 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, start boiling your pasta in salted, boiling water until slightly under al dente. You'll want it to finish cooking in the cheese sauce.

Then just grate all of your cheeses (I use my food processor... it grates everything in seconds). Feel free to experiment with whatever cheese you have on hand. I do recommend the American cheese because it helps keep the sauce to a creamy consistancy. Cheddar on it's own is very oily so it tends to clump. Also, I'm not a huge fan of Pecornino Romano on it's own, but it just adds so much flavor to this recipe. It adds a distinctive bite (is the only word I can use to describe it) that will just set this mac and cheese apart. Dump it all into the roux, mix and let melt.

Then dump in the pasta to the sauce. It will seem like there is a ton of sauce compared to pasta but once it cools it starts to thicken even more. Anyway, you can never have too much cheesy sauce in mac and cheese.

Add bacon crumbles it you want to be overly decadent.

Plop yourself in front of the telly and dig in!

PS... since I'm not an offical recipe chef and you have any questions or tried this recipe and it didn't work, please let me know. I tend to "wing" recipes all the time so any feedback is greatly appreciated.


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