bits and pieces

Friday, October 29, 2010

classic old school mac n' cheese

I don't know if it's the onset of winter or the prospect of moving, but I have been craving comfort food more than usual recently. Last night I was craving ketchup (yes, I know how sad this is) and I decided to make a mac and cheese to accompany said ketchup as to not shame myself too badly. I do like to use mac and cheese as a starting point for ridiculous food combinations however, this time I was feeling classic, old school, orange and delicious mac n' cheese.
3 cups macaroni noodles (3 cups BEFORE cooking)
one chopped onion
2 - 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar, marble, monterey jack, whatevvver - I used some MJ and marble, nothing fancy)
3-5 sheets/pieces/whatever of plastic cheese (aka kraft singles)
some breadcrumbs (I use panko)
salt + pepper
a little olive oil for cooking your onion

everything you need to make your roux:
2 tbsp butter
a little less than a quarter cup of flour
3 cups of milk
a few dashes of paprika
a dash of mustard powder
and a dash or two of cayenne (I wanted a little zip! in this)

other things you will need:
a dish to bake your macaroni and cheesey goodnes in
a big pot to make your noodles in/mix your ingredients
sauce pan for your roux
pan to sautee your onions
  1. preheat your oven to 425.
  2. put your water on to boil. While it's heating up, chop your onion and grate your cheese. Once it's boiling throw in your noodles. These will take about 8-10 minutes to cook. Drain and set aside once they're done.
  3. while your macaroni is cooking, fry your onion in a tiny bit of olive oil - add some salt and pepper to taste, and maybe even a dash of cayenne for some warmth.
  4. make your roux (see: HERE or just follow along). Melt your butter in a sauce pan. Once it's all melted, whisk in your flour until it has made a flour and butter paste like substance. Cook for a minute. Add your milk and whisk together. Turn up the heat to medium (not hot or you'll scald your pan and milk). Whisk as it begins to thicken. Once it's all sauce like, remove from heat and stir in your salt+pepper (easy on the salt, heavy on the pepper), paprika (for warmth), mustard powder (just makes it better), and cayenne (to add a little kick to your sauce). Add as much/as little cayenne and paprika and mustard as you like. I like to season mine until it doesn't taste exclusively of butter/flour/milk. You can also throw in a tablespoon or so of tomato sauce if you like.
  5. tear up your plastic cheese and throw it into the roux and stir until it's starting to get all melty and swirly.
  6. in the pot you made your macaroni noodles in, dump your now drained noodles, your roux, your sauteed onion, and MOST of your cheese (save a handful or so to sprinkle on the top). Mix it all together and then pour into your baking dish.
  7. sprinkle your bread crumbs and remaining cheese on top.
  8. bake for 20-25 minutes and then enjoy with delicious ketchup (or not).
note: I didn't take a picture of mine since I made it because I was starving and wanted ketchup but I promise it was even better looking that the photo I used.

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