The origins of pasta and cheese casseroles is hard to trace. However one can see mention about them being made in English cookbooks dating as far back as the 14th century. It has been popularized as an Italian dish where it remained as the dish for the upper classes and the elite till the 18th century. It was the American president Thomas Jefferson who publicized and popularized the name macaroni for all pasta. Since the Victorian era, it has been popular even in the United Kingdom.
Mac n Cheese is the short and sweet way to call macaroni and cheese. It is constituted by cooked elbow macaroni and lots of cheese sauce. It is made differently in different regions and is known by different names. It often is prepared directly from a packaged food mix. If cooked properly, this is a killer dish that everyone will enjoy eating. It is definitely not high in nutrition. It is one of those treats that you can give yourself once in a while.
- Butter: 45g
- Refined salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Plain flour: 3 heaped tablespoons
- Fresh bay leaves: 6
- Garlic cloves: 10, peeled and finely sliced
- Semi-skimmed milk: 1 litre
- Dried macaroni: 600g
- Tomatoes: 8
- Cheddar cheese: 150g, freshly grated
- Parmesan cheese: 100g, freshly grated
- Fresh thyme: a few sprigs with leaves picked
- Nutmeg: 1 grating (optional)
- Fresh bread crumbs: 3 large handfuls
- Olive oil
- Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Use an oven proof saucepan to melt the butter in. Add the flour to the molten butter and raise the heat to medium level. Keep stirring as you do this so that a paste is formed.
- Add all the slices of garlic into the roux that has been prepared in the previous step. Continue the heating and stirring till the roux turns golden brown and the garlic turns all sticky.
- Add the bay leaves into the mix now. Now, whisk the milk into the pan in small quantities and continue stirring till you get a nice and uniform sauce.
- Boil this whole mixture and then bring the flame to a simmer. As the mixture heats on the simmering flame, keep stirring occasionally.
- Take a separate large pan. Add water into the large pan and dissolve the required amount of salt in it. Bring it to the boiling temperature.
- Add the pasta into the boiling water and follow the instructions on the packaging to cook it properly and well.
- As the pasta gets cooked, chop tomatoes on a board and season them nicely with salt and pepper.
- Once the pasta is cooked and made, drain it and add it immediately to the sauce that is being kept hot on a simmering flame. Stir the whole mixture properly and then take the pan off the stove.
- Add to this both the grated cheese varieties. Also add the chopped tomatoes and the thyme leaves. This is the time to add in a little of the Worcestershire sauce and a grating of nutmeg to give a distinct flavor.
- For the final flavoring, you have to keep tasting and seasoning it till you hit the right amounts. Taste is a very relative term and so it will depend on your individual likes. Let the whole mixture be a little on the watery side so that when it thickens in the oven, it will form a nice and smooth paste.
- Since the sauce was made in an oven proof saucepan, we can use it directly in the oven. Else, transfer the contents to an appropriate vessel and bake for about 30 minutes in the oven. The contents should be golden and bubbling.
- As the oven is cooking your cuisine, add the bread crumbs and thyme into a pan with a little olive oil. Stir and toss about the crumbs till they turn a golden yellow. Keep them in a bowl.
- Take the macaroni out from the oven. Keep it as the main dish and the bread crumbs for sprinkling as per one’s taste. The mac n cheese goes along well with a salad serving.
Why you should try it?
This recipe is easy to make and tasty to eat. It is filling for the stomach and fulfilling for the tongue. You could make use of many of the ingredients that are high in nutrition when you make the dish. All the healthy ingredients blend in well with it! There are no difficult steps in its preparation and thus it would also be a good choice for launching yourself as a chef! Go ahead and have a happy cooking!