Friday, September 16, 2011

Siddharth's Triple Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't like Mac & Cheese? It's one of the finest American comfort foods. And yet, many people don't know how to make a good mac & cheese from scratch. The presence of TV dinner-style mac & cheese or velveeta and shells is proof that many people are missing out on delicious homemade goodness.The best part about making mac & cheese at home from scratch is that you can make it as decadent as you like, and it's really simple! In my recipe here, I used 3 cheeses: extra sharp cheddar, colby jack, and smoked gouda. I also used pancetta, which can easily (and deliciously) be substituted by bacon (or omitted altogether).

1 lb. pasta (shells, elbows, or wheels)
12 oz. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
6-8 oz. colby jack, shredded
2 oz. smoked gouda, shredded
1/2 lb pancetta, diced
4 tbsp. AP-flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2.5 cups milk
3 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp. chili powder (or cayenne)
salt to taste

Start by heating a saucepan over medium high-heat. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter. When the butter is hot, add the pancetta. Let the pancetta cook until it caramelizes and a lot of its fat is rendered. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon, and set aside on a paper towel. 

Rendering Pancetta
In the saucepan that now has the pork fat and butter, and the garlic and fry until fragrant. Then add the remaining 3 tbsp. of butter. When all the butter is melted, add the flour. Use a whisk to combine the flour and butter to form a roux. Let the roux cook 3-4 minutes, until it darkens slightly - this will remove the raw flour taste from your sauce. After the roux has cooked, stream in the milk, constantly whisking the mixture. Continue whisking until the milk begins to boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the nutmeg and chili powder, stirring to incorporate. Now, it is time to add the cheese. Start by adding in the extra sharp cheddar, about a handful at a time. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the cheese. After the cheddar, add the Colby-jack in the same manner. The Colby is a milder cheese that makes the sauce smoother. Once all the colby is in, add salt to taste, reduce the heat to low, and cover the sauce.

Making the cheese sauce
Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, and put it in a large bowl for mixing. First, add the fried pancetta to the pasta.

Toss the pancetta in, and then add the cheese sauce. Finish by topping with the smoked gouda.

And already, your delicious homemade mac & cheese is ready to enjoy! There are many ways to change this recipe. You could try different cheeses (Parmesan and fontina is a nice combination instead of cheddar and colby for example), omit the meat, or as mentioned previously, go with bacon. Whatever you choose to do with it, following the simple steps here will guarantee an extra creamy comfort!

1 comment:

  1. Sure looks delicious and will certainly get me out of the blues!