April 10, 2012

Mac & Cheese

It's been quite a while since I've blogged and I'm missing it a bit. My virtual life has to be put on hold so that I can take care of important things in real life. There is no dearth of materials, mind you. I've a number of recipes in a queue waiting for me to pick up my blogging keyboards again.

Possibly the most common recipe I have to continually look in my cookbook is the macaroni and cheese recipe. My kids request it almost every week now.

I was wondering about the elbow-shaped pasta very common in the Philippines which is usually used for this recipe. The fact is, I cannot find it here among the local UK supermarkets. The only places I saw them are in - surprise, surprise - Pinoy food shops. So I normally use penne or rigatoni pasta or any tube pasta except, ironically, macaroni itself. The macaronis here are quite small and thick. I'd really prefer a lighter bite on the pasta hence the choice of other pasta shapes.

As expected, I adopted the recipe from The Ultimate Recipe Book. I think I'll be cooking virtually every recipe in there. It suggested putting breadcrumbs as a topping. But everytime I did I end up coughing and choking on the little breadcrumb grains. So that is definitely off with only the cheese adorning the top.

Macaroni & Cheese
  • 275 gm of grated cheese (any combination of Cheddar, Parmesan, and Gruyere)
  • 300 gm of tube pasta
  • 750 ml [3 cups] full-fat milk
  • 50 gm butter
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

  1. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the grated cheese for topping.
  2. Boil and cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  4. Add in the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes while continually stirring.
  5. Stir in the milk about 1/2 cup at a time. Bring to gentle boil while making sure to stir until smooth before adding the next 1/2 cup in.
  6. Once all the milk is in, simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes while stirring from time to time.
  7. Remove from heat. Add the mustard, stir until blended. Add the cheese, stir until blended as well.
  8. Add in salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Mix in with the pasta. Pour into a greased 7 x 11-inch heatproof dish. Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese on top.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes in an oven at 190C/375F/fan 170C.
  11. Grill for about 5 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  12. Serve while still hot.

Variation: Replace the reserved cheese topping with fresh breadcrumbs - process two slices of fresh bread (you may remove the crust) in a food chopper or processor and sprinkle on top of the pasta before baking.