Thinking Outside the Box: the Craft of Real Macaroni and Cheese
This dish is so easy to make, yet tastes like you’ve been slaving away for hours over the stove. You can be creative in your choice of cheese, combining two, three, or even four different cheeses, as long as they’re capable of melting into a sauce. You can also add a handful of cooked vegetables, if you like – in fact, this is a GREAT use for leftover veggies! A few tips: be sure to remove the sauce from the heat before adding the cheese, as heating cheese too quickly will cause it to separate. Also, hold back on the salt until after you’ve added the cheese to the sauce – the variety of cheeses you use will greatly affect how much seasoning you’ll need to add.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
- 10 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (mix and match between the following melt-able varieties: cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Gruyere, Gouda, Fontina, Havarti)
- 1 cup chopped pre-cooked vegetables of your choice (optional – I like broccoli, peas, cauliflower, and asparagus)
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta through a colander and set aside.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. As soon as the milk starts to steam and form tiny bubbles around its edges, turn the heat as low as it will go. The goal is to keep the milk warm but prevent it from boiling.
Place the butter in a saucepan and melt over medium flame. Add the flour and stir with a heat-proof spatula just until the roux begins to take a light brown color, about 3 minutes, scraping the bottom to prevent burning. Once it’s done, the roux should smell like cooked butter and flour.
Slowly add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the heat. Add shredded cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in chopped vegetables, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over pasta and stir to coat the noodles. Serve immediately.
Nutritional analysis based on using a mix of cheddar and Gruyere cheeses and chopped broccoli for the vegetable.
Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 427mg | Fiber: 2g | Vitamin A: 1350IU | Vitamin C: 29.7mg | Calcium: 650mg | Iron: 3.4mg