Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Macaroni and Cheese

I know some of you will say that it comes out of a box so why bother? If you like that stuff, you go right ahead and don't let me stop you. I fail to see what relationship it bears to the baked dish, apart from including pasta. It tastes WEIRD. But I didn't grow up with it, and have no nostalgic connection.

I don't make macaroni cheese (as we call it) very often, because it's not the most interesting dish in the world. You can add things to it, but it's just not a big part of my repertoire.

But last night we had chicken, cooked as is, and I wanted to do a fancy pasta to offset that. I decided it was a good time to do macaroni cheese. Add a few veggies and it made a fairly balanced meal.

I found Martha Stewart's recipe. Yes, her. It looked OK apart from a couple of details and it was exceedingly good. I believe it was my alterations they took it from "recommended" to really very good indeed. About as good as it's going to get, in fact.

And because I'm totally pissed off with American recipes assuming that everybody sells things the same way they do, I have converted the butter and cheese.

The recipe says it serves 12. TWELVE? 12 cats possibly. This was all gone when divided between 5 adults, and I had very little frankly. You know, if your portions sizes are designed for anorexic supermodels you probably shouldn't be including pasta smothered in butter and cheese in your dinner to begin with. Just a thought. Anyway.....

1/2 cup butter, plus more for dish (4oz)
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 bar 500g 1/2 lb SHARP cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
1 pound pasta

The original recipe called for nutmeg, and if you like it you go right ahead. I'll save mine for my pumpkin pie, thanks all the same. Some similar recipes call for gruyere and/or other expensive cheese. I am not that rich.

Also, Martha wanted bread cubes on the top. Yeah. OK. Whatever.


  1. Alright so do you make up your cheese sauce first or do you dump it all into a casserole or what? I have everything cooked up first, then bake it with more cheese on top instead of bread anything to crisp it.

    1lb pasta is around 450g or so?

  2. Yep, we buy pasta in bulk but it often comes in 450g packs.

    Oh no, sorry, I should have said. I cook the pasta first, but slightly underdone. Then I make the cheese sauce. Drain the pasta, put in a baking dish, pour the sauce over. And yes, absolutely you can put more cheese on top instead of (or as well as) the breadcrumbs. But having used a whole bar of cheese for the sauce, I didn't feel it necessary.