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Homemade Macaroni and Cheese: The Topic


Florida Jim
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Well, it isn't for the cholesterol-conscious, but I have found that cutting cold M&C into slices, dredging the slices in eggwash and then bread crumbs, and pan-frying or deep-frying them is pretty tasty.

Mel, I have often fried leftover Mac & Cheese (ziti with ricotta, grated parm, grated asiago, some pecorino, much much much pepper). Deep-frying sounds interesting.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Much patience is called for. Lots of time, using verrrrry low heat, whether rangetop or microwave -- both work for me. My mac and cheese is the John Thorne/Cooks Illustrated type, using cheddar, evaporated milk, and egg. Using very low heat and frequent stirring to distribute the heat, I have never had any curdling of the sauce or splitting of the cheese. True, I am sometimes tempted to eat it cold instead of waiting for it to reheat properly, but warm mac and cheese is so worth the wait, and just as good the next day if you heat it right.

Just make sure to reserve a couple of large spoonfuls of cold mac and cheese to nibble on while you stand at the stove or microwave, waiting and stirring.

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Yes, like Brownie Baker, I use the Cooks Illustrated method, one of the main reasons being that even in the microwave, the sauce doesn't split the way a roux based sauce does. Plus it has a great texture. Unlike Cook's suggests thought, I don't use "American Cheese". Being a Canadian, I am not even sure what that actually is :rolleyes:

Ann

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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They don't sell American Cheese in Canada? In it's most vile form American Cheese is Kraft Singles, but you can also buy a (minimally) nicer version in brick form from the deli counter, at least in the states.

It is like cheddar but without flavor and a more rubbery texture.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I was almost permanently scarred by a bad run-in with the old-school, blue box Mac n'Cheese during my childhood, and have never touched the stuff since. When I saw this thread, I instantly thought of how much my husband would appreciate a big, heaping bowl of the homemade stuff, especially after a long day spent working hard in the chilly Autumnal air.

I used little miss foodie's suggestion of Martha Stewart's recipe. So easy. So, so good! I especially loved the little crispy bits of browned breadcrumbs on top... next time, I may add a little crumbled bacon to that top layer.

Excellent thread.

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I was almost permanently scarred by a bad run-in with the old-school, blue box Mac n'Cheese during my childhood, and have never touched the stuff since.  When I saw this thread, I instantly thought of how much my husband would appreciate a big, heaping bowl of the homemade stuff, especially after a long day spent working hard in the chilly Autumnal air.

I used little miss foodie's suggestion of Martha Stewart's recipe.  So easy.  So, so good!  I especially loved the little crispy bits of browned breadcrumbs on top... next time, I may add a little crumbled bacon to that top layer. 

Excellent thread.

s'kat, this was also the first mac n cheese I made since a childhood run in also! Martha to the resue! haha!

Glad it turned out so well :smile:

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Hmmm,

I guess they just market it differently- it is just called processed cheese food.

I don't know that I have ever seen it in brick form, but they may just call it something else, like America Online is always marketed as AOL here :wink:

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Bring some milk to temp in the pot first, then add the M&C. The hot milk will help distribute the heat more effectively, and the cheese goes into solution, without breaking. After a few minutes of cooking, you can have something that is just a bit looser than the original. Reseason and serve.

Or just fry that bad boy. :biggrin:

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I asked this same question a few weeks back after Hollis made a fantastic bunch of the Saveur Classics version of Mac n Cheese...someone suggested the toaster oven, which worked for a minute then it started to burn. I then transferred it to the oven, uncovered, for about 10 more minutes at 350 and it was great. It didn't separate as much and the bread crumb topping got even more crispy. It wasn't as great as the first go-round, but it was good enough.

He used large shells too which was a good touch.

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I make the Cook's Illustrated M&C -- you basically just make a Sauce Mornay with one pound each of cheddar and monterey jack. Tonload of truffles optional. :biggrin:

I've never found it as good reheated as fresh. However, I like to reheat it on a low burner on the cooktop with additional milk added to counteract evaporation, and this usually yields acceptable results.

I am very intrigued, however, with the idea of frying the leftovers.. perhaps in little Rice-Krispie-Treat size bars??

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Just mentioned it on another thread, but the Mac 'n' Cheese in Cooks Illustrated a few months ago is by far the best I've ever tasted -- my wife agrees, and she's a Mac 'n' Cheese fanatic (in the South, M&C is considered a "vegetable").

You basically just make a bechamel, then stir in one pound sharp cheddar and one pound monterey jack until it melts, then add one pound cooked elbow macaroni and some cayenne pepper and seasonings to taste.

It's very convenient, since when I make it I buy the one-pound bags of preshredded Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar from the grocery store. Yeah, not very "eGullet" but it works fine.

Optional are the buttered breadcrumb topping (and subsequent broiling to crisp), parmesan on top, or any sort of truffle flavoring which is the true apotheosis of this dish. I made some last week with about $20 worth of white truffles and it was freaking unbelievable. Sean Brock at Capitol Grille here in Nashville also uses truffles. Yummmm.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Oooohhhh... I have some white truffle oil. Now I'm going to have to make mac & cheese to try & incorporate it. Darn! :wink:

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Rover,

The Cooks Illustrated method from the "best of Cooks" book is the super easy non roux method.

Basically you boil the macaroni.

Grate 2 plus 1/4 cups cheese-the recipe says American, but I use decent aged cheddar of a blend of whatever I feel like- many great combos on this thread.

Mix about a cup of evap milk with an egg and a little tabasco, dry mustard, worcester. If you like it a little wetter, you can use the whole tin of milk.

If you like breadcrumb topping, pan fry some bread crumbs in some butter till golden, remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 c of the cheese.

Drain the macaroni, and add a decent knob of butter. Stir in 1 c of cheese and add the milk and egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add the remaining cup of cheese and stir till smooth. If it is not cheesy enough, add more or a little parm.

If your are using bread crumbs, spread the crumby cheesy stuff on top. If not, just sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Run it under the grill to brown the top.

Ann

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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I make the John Thorne inspired, Cooks Illustrated stovetop version, except that I use Monterey Jack for its melting qualities and aged Gouda for flavor. If I don't have aged Gouda, I use really really sharp cheddar.

I make the John Thorne version from Simple Cooking. It has been, hands down, the best mac and cheese I have ever had. I tend to use a sharp cheddar, and use a lot more tabasco than he uses. I haven't tried it with other cheeses yet.

His version is an oven version.

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  • 1 month later...

Since my husband and I love mac and cheese (yes, out of the blue box, although we really like Annie's Organics as well), I thought I'd surprise him and try to shake it up a bit. I've made mac and cheese from that cheese whiz stuff (but that's a whole other story!!) and some milk... while it was really yummy, I'd like to try some other ways to make mac and cheese.

So, you have some really yummy recipes for mac and cheese, please share! They don't have to be traditional either, we love experimenting with new flavors, spices, herbs... so please throw out any ideas!

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My favourite macaroni and cheese is elbow macaroni (cooked, of course) mixed with a white sauce. I dunno...maybe 3 T. butter, 3 T. flour and appropriate amounts of milk? At any rate, once the white sauce is made, stir in whacks of grated cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted. Then add the cooked elbow macaroni and pop the whole mess in a baking dish.

When it's in the dish, I like to stir in some tinned whole tomatoes (without any packing juices) and a little bit of rosemary.

Bake it for a while (30 minutes?) and then serve.

Yum. :wub:

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My favorite new twist on the old mac 'n cheese is really an old PA Dutch recipe for German Noodle Ring. Basic white sauce (two cups), 8 oz of Swiss cheese grated and stirred in to melt, salt and white pepper to taste, about 1/2 tsp good paprika. Cook egg noodles until almost done, then place them by the handful in a buttered 1 1/2 qt ring mold or bundt pan to fill without pressing them down. I use my stoneware bundt. Reserve a bit less than half of the sauce (about a third or so) for later. Beat two large eggs into the rest of the sauce then pour over the noodles in the mold. Set mold in a pan of water and bake for about an hour at 350 F. Unmold onto plate, pour the remaining sauce over the noodle ring or serve extra sauce with a ladle. Fill ring with seared asparagus spears. Cut to serve in wedges with the spears laid on top.

You can also sprinkle a few carraway seeds on the top after saucing.

We have been known to sleepwalk to eat leftovers of this after dinner. :wink::laugh:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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I have enjoyed Food and Wine's Macaroni and Cheese with Buttery Crumbs

Isn't the crunchy part on the top just the best? It's nice to use a mix of cheeses also.

The link is to a subscriber/purchaser-only page. Maybe you can cut and paste?

I have a simple but good recipe that's very cheesy:

8 ounces dry elbow macaroni or small shells

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 pound shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese (about 3 cups), divided

1/2 pound shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1/2 pound crumbled blue-veined cheese (Gorgonzola works very well in this recipe)

Boil pasta according to package directions; drain. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Add spices and heat until sauce just reaches a boil. Reduce heat and stir in two cups of the Cheddar and all of the Monterrey Jack and blue cheeses; continue stirring until cheeses are melted.

Place pasta in ungreased casserole dish and pour sauce over pasta. Top with remaining Cheddar. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until topping is bubbly and slightly brown around the edges. 4 to 6 servings.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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