Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mac and Cheese

It's been way too long since I posted a recipe to this blog, so here is a favorite of ours. I make it way too often to be healthy, but it's just so yummy, I can't help it.
With fake crab meat

4 C whole milk
1 stick butter
1/2 C flour
Salt, pepper, mustard to taste     (optional)
1 lb macaroni (or whatever         pasta is in your cupboard)
4 C shredded cheese (I like a       mixture of cheddar and         whatever else is on hand)
Breadcrumbs (optional)
Crabmeat (fake or not, or           bacon, chicken, green           onions, or anything else       you want to add)

The great thing about this recipe is that, difficult as the roux is to make, once that is done and you have the cheese sauce made, you can add pretty much anything and have it be crazy delicious.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat, add salt if you want (I never do and it turns out fine). Add the pasta and cook until it’s almost al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

If you plan to top with breadcrumbs and bake it (optional but highly recommended), heat the oven to 400°F.

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to a simmer, then turn off the heat and set aside.

Here is the hard part. In the large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

While whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth. It will get very thick when you first add the milk, then thin out. Don't be like me and get upset if it turns out a little lumpy the first time - it takes practice and it will still taste good.

Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and while whisking constantly, cook until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, mustard or any other spices to taste.

With green onions and topped with more cheese
Stir in cheese just until melted and smooth (you can reserve some of the cheese to top the pasta if you plan on baking it). Add the pasta, any meat or vegetables you want and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is heated through and steaming, about 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately or, if baking, transfer to a 5-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.