Quarantine Mac & Cheese

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def: Macaroni and Cheese – Dish originated from England, consisting of pasta and cream.

Quarantine Mac & Cheese

#morecheeseplease

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 realize how easy it is! Let’s get started.

Mac&Cheese mise en place 01

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.

Ingredients

Sauce:
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)

Pasta:
500 g macaroni pasta (couldn’t get our hands on this type of pasta)
80 g butter unsalted

Topping:
1 cup bread crumbs 
1 cup parmesan
1 garlic minced finely
Rendered bacon fat

Ingredient for Mac&Cheese

Directions

Step 1 – Preheat oven at 170C.

Mac&Cheese mushroom

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.

Mac&Cheese Bacon straining

Step 4 – Strain the rendered bacon fat into a bowl.

Mac&Cheese garlic oil

Step 5 – Soak the minced garlic into the bacon fat.

Mac&Cheese bacon

Step 6 – Chop/tear the bacon into small pieces.

Mac&Cheese mushroom chopped

Step 7 – Strain the soaked mushrooms and chop finely.

Mac&Cheese bread crumb 01

Step 8 – Mix the oil from step 5 with parmesan and bread crumbs.

Mac&Cheese bread crumb 02

Step 9 – Set aside. We will use this mix in step 21.

Mac&Cheese boiling pasta

Step 10 – Bring your pasta to a boil and cook as per the packet’s instructions.

Mac&Cheese butter in pasta

Step 11 – Strain the pasta into a bowl, add the butter and mix well. Set aside.

Mac&Cheese butter melting

Step 12 – Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Only when the butter is fully melted, add the flour.

Mac&Cheese roux

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 🙂

Mac&Cheese roux 02

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.

Mac&Cheese bechamel and spice

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.

Mac&Cheese bechamel ready

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).

Mac&Cheese mornay

Step 17 – Now it’s time to add your shredded cheese and mix well. You’ve just learnt how to make a Mornay sauce!

Mac&Cheese sauce

Step 18 – Once the cheese is fully melted, add your bacon and mushrooms. Mix well. Congrats your sauce is now ready!

Mac&Cheese mixing pasta and sauce 01

Step 19 – Pour your cooked pasta into the sauce. Mix well so the pasta is fully coated with the sauce.

Mac&Cheese mixing pasta and sauce 02

Step 20 – Pour your pasta into a baking tray.

Mac&Cheese topping

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. 

Enjoy!

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR HOW YOU GO WITH THIS RECIPE. TAG US ON INSTAGRAM @VIVECOOKINGSCHOOL OR #VIVECOOKINGSCHOOL

Mac&Cheese cooked
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We want to hear what you think about this article, or what you would like us to write about next! Write to us at info@vivecookingschool.com.au.

VIVE Cooking School is for passionate home cooks of all ages looking for a deeper connection with how they shop, source, prepare and share food. Learn more about us.

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Jean-Luc Tan
Jean-Luc, founder of VIVE Cooking School, managed to quit coffee in Oct 2019. He likes to think he is a healthy eater, but truth be told: he can't resist Maccas Apple Pie and anything that is deep fried!
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