I have always had a hard time making homemade macaroni and cheese. I don’t know why that is but for some reason it turns out overly flour-tasting and definitely not creamy. It’s disappointing since my kids love Mac ‘n Cheese and they have always had to have the fake stuff.
However, I am determined to make a great batch of Mac ‘n Cheese and I will not stop until I have done it. Children can’t live on the boxed stuff all the time, after all.
Until I managed to alter a good recipe, I thought it was going to be a hopeless search. After looking for a while, I began getting the main idea of how to start. A good roux, done right, is key. Okay, sounds simple, but in the past I didn’t pay attention to how I mixed my roux so that I tasted more of the flour than the cheese in the end. After making roux multiple times for a lot of other recipes, I now have no fear of the roux. Seems trivial to mess up a roux, but this girl can burn water. Trust me.
Now this recipe is a Super Mac ‘n cheese because there is a lot more that goes into the sauce than just the roux and cheese. I followed a recipe for the sauce but I did alter it because of what I had on hand.
Get your roux going by melting the butter in a large skillet. When the butter is completely melted, add your garlic and let it become tender. Add the flour, milk and all the seasonings. Be careful of how much salt you use in the sauce since the noodles will boil in salty water. It doesn’t take much salt to ruin a whole dish. If you don’t like a lot of heat, then be careful with how much crushed red pepper you add as well.
The sauce is so pretty and smells fantastic now! App developers really do need to get onto making an app for Smell-a-pic, or something like it because this sauce smells so awesome!
On to adding the cheese. Make sure to add your cheese in batches so that it melts completely and you won’t have lumps. Who wants lumpy sauce, anyway? Now, be adventurous with the cheeses you use. I love Mexican blend cheeses. Especially Queso Fresco and Queso de Oaxaca. These cheeses melt perfectly smooth and the taste is really good. So since this is a Mac ‘n Cheese recipe, good big or go home on the cheese.
You are ready for the noodles. When you boil your noodles, boil them to where they are just slightly under-cooked. They will finish their cooking in the oven and won’t suck up all of the moisture from the sauce.
Mix all the gooey-goodness together. Oh such cheesy, gooey-goodness! I had to resist the temptation to stop right then and eat it.
Onto assembling the Super, Gooey goodness in the casserole dish. Make sure to spray your dish. Make a layer of the Mac ‘n Cheese, then layer your sliced cheese and then another layer of the remaining Mac ‘n cheese. Get your toppings on and you are set to bake.
Here’s my recipe for this pan of awesome, delishiousness. Enjoy!
Super Macaroni & Cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ c flour
3 c milk
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2-4 c shredded cheddar cheese (can substitute with a Mexican blend)
6 slices of Sargento’s Tomato ‘n Basil Jack cheese
1 c shredded parmesan cheese plus 2 Tablespoons for topping
½ c bread crumbs
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F and prepare a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
Start your water in a large pot for boiling the noodles. When there are small bubbles beginning to form on the bottom, add salt to the water (about 1 Tablespoon). When the water comes to a hard boil, add your noodles. When the water comes back to temperature, turn the burner down to med-hi and boil until the noodles are slightly under-cooked. When the noodles are done cooking (approximately 8 minutes), strain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside in a large bowl.
In a large skillet, melt your butter. Add the garlic and sauté until tender then add the flour as you whisk it in to the melted butter. Add the milk slowly while continuing to whisk until it is smooth and there are no more lumps. Mix your cornstarch with the evaporated milk. Turn the burner to med-lo and add the cornstarch mix into the milk mixture. Mix well then add the Dijon mustard and the remaining seasonings and bring to a boil while continuously stirring.
Turn the temperature back down to med-lo and allow the sauce to simmer and begin to thicken a little. Add the shredded cheddar and parmesan cheese in batches until it is smooth and remove from the stove. Stir the sauce into the cooked noodles until completely mixed together.
Spread ½ of the Mac ‘n Cheese into your prepared casserole dish and top with the 6 slices of Sargento’s cheese. Add the remaining Mac ‘n Cheese and top with bread crumbs and remaining parmesan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes and all bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
To try the original recipe, you can find it here.