def: Macaroni and Cheese – Dish originated from England, consisting of pasta and cream.
Quarantine Mac & Cheese
Cheese lovers, wherever you are, this recipe is for you! A few important things to know before you dive into this recipe:
1) When we developed this recipe, we were in the middle of self-quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic: this means we could not get our hands on elbow macaroni pasta. The pasta we ended up using Voiello’s mafalde corte (ribbon shape, similar to lasagna but more narrow) pasta works just fine.
2) You will learn how to make a Roux, a Bechamel sauce and a Mornay sauce and you will be able to re-use these cooking techniques for many other recipes.
3) We only had one pasta pack to experiment on this recipe. The flavours works really well. We wish we had made a little more sauce, but rest assured, we adjusted the recipe accordingly.
It looks like there are a lot of steps but relax, if you put a little effort on the mise en place, you will realise how easy it is! Let’s get started.
Mise en place
Get ready to cook up a storm!
“Mise en place” or “everything in its place” is the setup required before you start to cook.
For this recipe, the mise en place is pre-heat the oven at 170 C, boil some hot water for both the pasta and the dried mushrooms. Coat butter on the surface of the baking tray. Shred the cheese. Finally weigh all the ingredients.
36 g butter unsalted
40 g plain flour
600 ml milk
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cup cheddar
2 cup comte
1 cup parmesan
30 g dried porcini (optional)
150 g bacon (the fattier the better :P)
500 g macaroni pasta (couldn’t get our hands on this type of pasta)
80 g butter unsalted
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan
1 garlic minced finely
Rendered bacon fat
Step 1 – Preheat oven at 170C.
Step 2 – Pour hot water onto the dried mushrooms and set aside (if you don’t like mushrooms, you can skip this step).
Step 3 – Render the bacon until crispy.
Step 4 – Strain the rendered bacon fat into a bowl.
Step 5 – Soak the minced garlic into the bacon fat.
Step 6 – Chop/tear the bacon into small pieces.
Step 7 – Strain the soaked mushrooms and chop finely.
Step 8 – Mix the oil from step 5 with parmesan and bread crumbs.
Step 9 – Set aside. We will use this mix in step 21.
Step 10 – Bring your pasta to a boil and cook as per the packet’s instructions.
Step 11 – Strain the pasta into a bowl, add the butter and mix well. Set aside.
Step 12 – Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Only when the butter is fully melted, add the flour.
Step 13 – Mix the flour with the melted butter constantly. Pro tips: It’s important to mix well, otherwise you risk burning the bottom of the pan. Congratulations! You’ve just learnt how to make a roux 🙂
Step 14 – Once the butter and the flour are well mixed, pour the milk in. Pro tips: if you use warm milk, you have better chance to prevent lumps to form, resulting in a silky sauce.
Step 15 – You’ve just learnt how to make a Béchamel sauce! Add your spices to the mix and stir well for another 2 to 5 minutes.
Step 16 – Consistency test: Run your finger on the back of the spoon. The sauce should be thick enough, not runny (be careful not to burn your finger).
Step 17 – Now it’s time to add your shredded cheese and mix well. You’ve just learnt how to make a Mornay sauce!
Step 18 – Once the cheese is fully melted, add your bacon and mushrooms. Mix well. Congrats your sauce is now ready!
Step 19 – Pour your cooked pasta into the sauce. Mix well so the pasta is fully coated with the sauce.
Step 20 – Pour your pasta into a baking tray.
Step 21 – Cover the top with the bread crumb mix.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Carefully remove the tray from the oven, and serve immediately.
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