There seems to a huge difference between Macaroni and Cheese recipes. I have been served some amazing Mac and Cheese dishes in America and Australia, but I have eaten some pretty sad dishes too. I recently had a meal at the Easy Street Diner in the Gold Coast and it started me thinking about all the Mac & Cheese dishes I’ve had over the years.
My love affair with “The Mac” started long before I had even sampled the dish. I was a teenager reading a fiction story and the dish was mentioned. The passing mention of Mac and Cheese in this book ignited my culinary imagination. I love cheese, especially delicious, melty cheese. Every kid loves pasta; it was an obvious match made in heaven!
I tried to convince my mother of the merits of making Macaroni Cheese. My pleas fell on deaf ears. There was no way she would prepare a meal as devoid of nutrients or as high in fat and carbohydrates as macaroni cheese. I was stuck with meat and three vegetables.
Fast forward to when I was about 15 years old. I had a part time job and was earning my own money. I noticed a packet Macaroni Cheese in the supermarket. I purchased this dubious product and followed the instructions. It was such a disappointing purchase. The bright yellow sauce didn’t even taste like cheese. I tried adding real cheese but the moment was lost.
My faith in Macaroni and Cheese was not at all shaken by this poor example. I knew it would be just a matter of making the dish from scratch myself.
Fast forward to today. After years of taste testing, I now know what makes the perfect Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
The Perfect Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- Needs to have a crusty grilled melted cheese layer on top.
- The recipe needs to include a tasty cheese with good melting ability, a stringy cheese and a matured cheese for extra flavour.
- The sauce needs to be creamy enough to coat the pasta and get inside the tubes of macaroni.
- The sauce should not be too thin that the dish won’t hold it’s shape.
- The sauce should not be too thick that it tastes gluey with the pasta.
If this is how you like your Macaroni and Cheese take a look at my recipe and tell me what you think.
The PERFECT Macaroni and Cheese RecipePrint Recipe
- 340 g / 3/4-pound uncooked pasta
- 70 g / 5 Tbs butter
- 60 g /6 Tbs plain flour
- 2 cups / 500ml milk
- 2 cups / 500ml pouring cream
- 3 cups / 200gm grated tasty cheese
- 1 1/2 cup / 140gm grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cup /140gm grated matured cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup / 45g grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cups / 90gm grated tasty cheese
- 2 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
- sprinkle smoky paprika
- Preheat an oven to 350ºF or 180ºC.
- Cook the pasta as per the manufactures directions.
- Drain and place the cooked pasta and reserve for later.
- Add the butter to a saucepan and melt gently.
- Stir through the flour to make a roux. The flour needs to be cooked but not browned, approx 2 mins stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of milk to the roux.
- Whisk the milk though the mixture vigorously until there are no lumps.
- Quickly add another 1/2 cup of milk and whisk again.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk through the remaining milk, cream, mustard tomato paste and cayenne pepper.
- Once combined add the saucepan to a medium heat.
- Stir the saucepan constantly until the sauce has thickened.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add all the cheeses. Stir the sauce for a minute or two then return the saucepan to a low heat.
- Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper as desired.
- Stir the sauce through the pasta.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese into a baking tray or individual serving dishes.
- Sprinkle the topping ingredients evenly over the macaroni cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden.
Now that we have the basic Macaroni and Cheese Recipe nailed, I want to make some suggestions to take your dish to the next level.
- Macaroni and Cheese with Shaved Black Truffle
- Macaroni and Cheese with Pepperoni
- Deep fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls
Readers, what has been your experience with the humble Mac and Cheese? Is this a dish you love or hate? Do you add anything special to your Mac & Cheese?