February 3, 2015

Macaroni And Cheese

I don't know who Anna is, but her pasta is about to get crazy
There's something special about Mac and Cheese. It brings me back to my childhood. Except without all of the uncomfortable parts that came from actually LIVING my childhood. Let's be honest for a second (that's right, everything else I say is a lie). When you're a kid, everything is either the best thing that's ever happened, or so terrible that your life is pretty much over. It's exhausting. But the silver lining in the rain cloud of angst (gross), is Macaroni and Cheese. It feels like a perfect slice of Americana. It's warm, wholesome and incredibly cheesy. Especially the way I make it.

Ingredients:

3 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP All Purpose Flour
1 lb. Macaroni (it's technically possible to replace the Macaroni with any reasonably small pasta shape. If you're a communist)
4 Cups Milk
1 tsp Salt
8 oz. Cheddar 
8 oz. Pepper Jack
6 oz. Provolone 
An unspecified amount of Parmesan 

The first thing to do is to put a pot full of water on a high flame so that you can eventually cook your pasta. Because water hates you, and decided long ago that it was gonna take forever to boil. So get that going in the beginning, and use that time waiting for water to stop being a dick working on the rest of the recipe. Speaking of which, next you're gonna melt your butter and make a roux. Because you're making a Bechamel sauce. For those of you too lazy to follow that link, essentially you're melting the butter, mixing in the flour, and then slowly incorporating the milk while stirring like a crazy person to make a creamy creamy cream sauce. 

Now comes the cheesy part, and by "cheesy" I mean "Awesome. And involving cheese." Keep your Bechamel on a medium-low flame (it should be warm, but shouldn't be steaming) and add in a handful of shredded Cheddar. Stir it until it melts and fully incorporates into the sauce. Then repeat this until you've added in half of your Cheddar, and all of your Pepper Jack. Add in your Salt, stir to incorporate it, and turn your heat off. 

By this point, your water should have given in to torture and started boiling. Hopefully when this happened you had the foresight to actually add in your pasta so that it could be cooked by the time your sauce was done. If not, start cooking it now, secure in the knowledge that I'm secretly judging you. Cook the pasta until it's "al dente." ("al dente," technically speaking, means "to the tooth," which is stupid. What it practically means, is that the pasta is cooked through, but is still firm and offers resistance when bitten. Should you shout "to the tooth!" at the top of your lungs before you eat pasta cooked this way? Follow your heart. So yes.) Once your pasta is sufficiently toothy, drain it, and then add it in to your cheese sauce to make a steaming pile of awesomeness. 

15 minutes later a shocking amount of this pan was empty
Take a handful of Cheddar, and spread it along the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add in your entire pot of goopy, cheesy, noodly goodness, and spread it evenly across the pan. Then top it with the rest of the Cheddar, the Provolone, and the Parmesan. How much Parmesan? However much you want. There's no such thing as too much Parmesan. So keep adding it until you arbitrarily decide you've added enough, or until your arm hurts from all of that repetitive motion. Bake it at 400 until everything on top melts and starts to crisp up. Pretty much until it looks as awesome as it smells. Then, take it out of the oven, and struggle not to eat it until it's cooled down a little bit. Or, just dunk your hand in to the burning hot pan, and grab handfuls, stuff them into your mouth and sustain relatively serious burns. Either way.

3 comments:

  1. I don't cook, but reading your recipes makes me think that someday I will. For now, I will just read and dream.

    Quote To Remember: (it's technically possible to replace the Macaroni with any reasonably small pasta shape. If you're a communist). Winning!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for reading! If you ever do try out one of my recipes, let me know how it comes out.

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  2. Whoa that's a lot of cheese!

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