To some people, Mac and Cheese is one of the comfort food they're after, for nothing beats a generous helping of creamy, oozy cheese.
Some people swear by mac and cheese boxes, but made from scratch is much better. Ingredients are mostly pantry essentials.
The recipe is from Miss Tan Hsueh Yun, a food editor with The Straits Times/Sunday Times.
This is a straightforward recipe with versatility. In the recipe, two types of cheese are used, sharp cheddar and gruyere, a bechamel sauce and Ritz crackers topping. Gruyere is used for its creamy and nutty taste, while sharp cheddar is more flavorful and tangy. Bechamel sauce gives the dish a creamy and silky base. Ritz crackers provides a buttery and crunchy topping. Together, they made a very delicious and indulgent dish. Mac and cheese can be served as main or sides.
Mac and Cheese
Serves 4 as main course, 6 as a side dish
2 tbsp salt
250g elbow macaroni
100g ritz crackers
150g sharp or mature cheddar cheese
150g gruyere cheese
50g salted butter
50g plain flour
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Chopped chives,scallions or flat leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the salt and then the dried macaroni. Set the timer for 2 minutes before the recommended cooking time. For example, if the recommended cooking stated on the package is 11 minutes, set the timer for 9 minutes.
- Place the crackers in a resealable plastic bag, seal the bag. Using a rolling pin or the bottom of a sturdy glass, bash the crackers as finely or coarsely as you like. Pour the crumbs into a bowl and set aside.
- Grate the cheeses using a coarse grater or a food processor fitted with a grating or shredding disk. Set aside in a bowl.
- If the pasta is ready, drain in a colander.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. Turn off the heat.
- Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter in the pot and then add the flour. Whisk the flour and butter together until it becomes a paste.
- Slowly add in the hot milk, whisking thoroughly until it becomes a smooth sauce.
- Add the cheese and continue whisking until the cheese melts. If the mixture becomes too thick, thin it out with extra hot milk, 1 tbsp at a time. Turn off the heat.
- Taste the cheese sauce and add salt if needed, and pepper to taste. Pour the drained pasta into the sauce and mix both well using a metal spoon.
- Spoon the pasta into a medium oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the pasta. Place in the oven and bake 20-30 minutes or until the crumbs are brown.
- Let pasta rest for 10 minutes, sprinkle chopped chives, scallions or flat leaf parsley if using. Serve.
Note: If using panko or fresh breadcrumbs, drizzle some melted butter over the dish after sprinkling the crumbs over, so they turn a lovely golden brown. Cooking the bechamel sauce over medium-low heat ensures that the flour is cooked thoroughly so the raw taste of it does not mar the bechamel. Aside from salt and pepper, other seasonings can include freshly grated nutmeg or dried mustard powder.
To turn this dish into a one dish meal, add chopped ham or leftover roast chicken and some spinach leaves to the pasta. Other additions can include sundried tomatoes, juicy corn kernesl, sauteed mushrooms and even bacon.
This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up CHEESE hosted by Alice, ILove.ICook.IBake, organised by Zoe, Bake for Happy Kids, and Doreen,My little favourite DIY
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7