Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they weren't fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.
“She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbor . . . "Winter is dead.”
~A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Monday, 10 February 2014

Mac and Cheese on a Monday afternoon



One of my absolute favourite dishes of all time has been macaroni and cheese. This is the ultimate in comfort food to me.

I have tried many, many different recipes. I love it done the old fashioned way which is pure and unadulterated, nothing but cooked macaroni, milk, chunks of cheese and lots of butter. Seasoned with salt and pepper and baked until the milk is almost absorbed by the macaroni and there are gooey patches of delicious cheese scattered throughout . . . it is simple, old fashioned, and really, really good.



I love the boxed ones. I know a sacrilege to some, but lets face it, they can be quite comforting as well and make a great lunch in a pinch. I have a distinct preference for Presidents Choice White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese mix, which I can only get in Canada and I can't wait until next year when I can go over and stock up on the stuff.

I love to add a tin of chopped tomatoes when I am making the boxed stuff, or some Heinz chili sauce. This takes it beyond the ordinary and turns it into something special. I could eat the whole box all by myself, and when I was younger, my husband and I often ate a box of it for an evening snack before we went to bed. (ahh youth . . . )



When I really want to indulge though, this is the version I make. There is no better way to make a good macaroni and cheese, and I have tried quite a few different versions. This is the culimation of years of testing and trying and this is what I have come to think is the ultimate in Macaroni and Cheese. A rich and cheesy sauce, and lots of it in comparison to the macaroni, and topped with buttery crisp bread crumbs.



You need look no further. This IS the absolute best.



*Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This, to me, is the absolute best macaroni and cheese recipe ever. Rich, yes. Lucious, yes. Cheesy, yes. Fattening, who cares . . . The best, ultimately.

225g dry macaroni (2 cups)
56g ounces butter (1/4 cup)
56g plain flour (1/3 cup)
1/2 pint milk (1 cup)
1/2 pint double cream (1 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
120g strong cheddar, shredded (1 cup)
55g Red Leicester cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
55g Parmesan Reggiano cheese, shredded (1/3 cup)
65g fresh bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (1 cup)
2 TBS melted butter


Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Butter a casserole dish and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring for one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and the cream, whisking constantly. Add the salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Stir in the cheeses, mixing in until they are melted. Set aside.

Cook the macaroni in lightly salted boiling water to cover until done, according to the package directions. Drain well. Stir the drained macaroni into the cheese sauce. Pour the complete mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over top of the macaroni. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Let sit a few minutes before serving.

13 comments:

April said...

Be still my heart... This looks like perfection!! Mac and cheese is one of my top 3 comfort foods too!! I'm rather in love with my version and have turned up my nose at all others... But this looks so amazing I just have to try it!! Gah, I'm supposed to be getting healthier... Oh well :)

Elle Gallatin said...

I just discovered your blog and I am in love. I will def be visiting on a regular basis.
Homemade Mac & Cheese is my favorite comfort food.
Elle
bodybeautifulwellness.blogspot.com

Marie said...

April all work and no play is just no fun! You just simply have to indulge yourself from time to time! There is no getting around it!

Thanks for your lovely comment Elle! It's always nice to make a new friend!

La Table De Nana said...

Such a great comfort meal:)

amelia said...

You may remember that living in Canada it's almost impossible to get a good sharp cheddar such as can be had in England. It doesn't matter how expensive, and we've tried them all, nothing compares to English Cheddar.
Do you have any recommendations for a good sharp cheese I can buy here?

Mary Callan said...

I'm with you Marie, mac and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food - yours looks decedent and delicious:)
Mary x

Marie said...

Amelia, Canadian Cheddar tends to be a lot smoother and creamier with a somewhat milder flavour. Ours is more crumbly. Ours is also not dyed, so it is white. You could try subbing an extra sharp cheddar and using a bit more of it to get that same flavour. Also, I used the Leicester cheese here to give it some colour, so sub that with an equal amount of sharp cheddar as well. I hope this helps!

Thanks Monique and Mary!

Marie said...

Amelia, my friend Elly sent me this message. She lives in Toronto and knows her Canadian cheese. I will copy and paste it here as I feel you would find it very helpful!!

I am going to make your macaroni and cheese.. your follower Amelia was asking you what strong cheddar you would use in Canada I used Cracker Barrel or Black Diamond... the extra old is strong... and I really like the Balderson 12 year old aged cheddar.. I don't know where she lives, but all the cheeses you mentioned including the Red Leichester ..sp.... is available in fine cheese shops as well as many English cheeses. Saturday I was shopping at a store here and a friend said there is nothing we cannot find in Toronto now!! There are lots of great cheese shops too! Hope that helps..

amelia said...

Thanks to your friend Elly. I used to live in Toronto for thirty five years and now for ten years living up in the north but never did find a good strong Cheddar. The cheese we use all the time is Cracker Barrel extra old and I find the flavour disappears with cooking and it's nothing like English Cheddar anyway. I know this sounds as if it has to be English or nothing but it's not like that at all. I'd be so happy to find something that was as good.

Allison said...

YUM, Marie. What is double cream? Want to try this recipe. (And thanks for always posting in measurements I can understand! haha)

Marie said...

Allison, Double cream is like whipping cream! No calories in this baby! lol

amelia said...

I made this last night and used a little extra grated parmesan to compensate for not being able to get good cheddar or the Red Leicester and it was so cheesy and the best I've ever made. Very rich so it will feed us for a couple of days.
Do you think it would freeze well?

Marie said...

Amelia, so glad you liked it. I have never frozen it. Why don't you try freezing a little bit to see how it goes and then freezing the rest if it works out? Let me know how you get on! xxoo