My Mac-n-Cheese Made Simple

September 15, 2010

Everybody loves mac-n-cheese. If you have taste buds, you love macaroni and cheese. I for one am an avid fan of this wonderful comfort food. I’ve also had some really terrible mac’s in my life from family to friends and from restaurants who dare to try to create something that rides on a thin line between deliciously sublime to almost inedible. I wanted to take this chance to share my mac-n-cheese recipe with you in hopes that you will also enjoy at home what I’ve been very successful at selling for the last three years at my restaurant. Mind you, measurements are subject to change in regards to how much you actually want to make for yourself or family but the ingredients are key to ensuring your dish will stand out amongst others you have tasted. The dish can be made either vegetarian or with bacon which I suggest. We use house-cured bacon that is probably some of the best in San Francisco.

The following recipe with be scaled for 6 to 8 people. This is something that you can adjust on your own to fit the number of people you want to serve.

Dishes and utensils you will need for this dish are:

1 wooden spoon, 1 whisk, 2 medium to large sauce pans, 1 large baking dish, 1 large pasta cooking pot and strainer, 1 large mix bowl

Bulk Ingredients

2 lbs dry elbow macaroni
2 quarts cheese sauce (recipe follows)
1 1/2 cups 25/75 shredded parmesan and Japanese bread crumbs
1 cup premium bacon-cooked and drained
1 lb roux (recipe follows)
Salt and Pepper to season

Roux Procedure

1/2 lb whole butter
2 cups flour

In a sauce pan heat butter until melted. Slowly add flour into butter and stir with a wooden spoon until butter and flour start forming into a dough like consistency. Keep flame on low so not to brown or burn the flour. Continue to stir until bubbling and you achieve a “popcorn” aroma from the roux. Hold at room temperature until needed to thicken sauce.

Cheese Sauce Procedure

For this procedure I suggest you do not use a hoppy beer. A light pilsner would suffice for this dish.

1/4 cup pilsner beer
1 quart heavy cream
2 lbs shredded sharp cheddar (tillamook or similar quality)
roux to thicken
salt and pepper to taste

Pour beer into medium to large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add cream and also bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a slow simmer. In small increments, add roux and whisk continually to break up roux and to thicken sauce. When you have achieved the thickness you desire, slowly fold in cheddar until the sauce becomes silky and smooth. Season with salt and pepper and hold warm until next step.

It is my understanding that most novice cooks are able to cook pasta so I will leave this step out. The final step is combining all these ingredients.

Place pasta in a large mixing bowl and slowly add the cheddar bechamel sauce and bacon. Add only enough sauce that you are comfortable with and if you like your macaroni more saucy, then by all means add more sauce but if you like it crunchy and drier, add less. A reminder that when baking this dish, the sauce will thicken from the oven heat but all in all this is a very durable dish to make. When the macaroni and sauce are incorporated, place in a large baking dish like a pyrex for example. Sprinkle the macaroni with the parmesan-breadcrumb mixture and heat in a 375 degree oven uncovered for approximately 20 minutes. The bread crumbs should be nicely browned and and there should be bubbling around the edges of the macaroni. Serve immediately to the delight of friends and family!

5 Responses to “My Mac-n-Cheese Made Simple”

  1. "M" said

    Kev, love this blog! Clear and concise plus gorgeous picture. But now I have to give up my Kraft Mac n Cheese…lol

  2. TR said

    This is the first Mac n Cheese I’ve ever seen that would make me consider giving up Kraft’s out of the box product. Tempting…

  3. […] My Mac-n-Cheese Made Simple September 20102 comments 5 […]

  4. cm said

    Thanks for sharing this, chef. Never made it to Monk’s Kettle when you were there, but maybe I’ll catch you cooking somewhere else.

    All the best.

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