Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese!

I haven't updated this blog in soo long! so sorry! finals were crazy and right when school was over, i got into lazy mode and barely did anything productive...but now i'm back on my cooking/baking grind!!

Macaroni and cheese: the legitimate version!! i made this for my discussion/lab for physics potluck and they seemed to think it was pretty good! the only bad part was that the texture was a little grainy and thick because of the cheese...but after reading on how to fix that problem, i think i'll have it perfect the next time i make it! oh! and i basically followed foodwishes' recipe!

1/4 cup butter 
1/4 cup flour 
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
12 ounces elbow macaroni
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, mixed with 1 tablespoon butter

melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat, until it makes sizzling noises and bubbles.

then add the flour and whisk it together until it is uniform. then heat that up until the starch is cooked off..very important because that ensures the b├Ęchamel, or white, sauce to not get lumpy and also makes sure the sauce does not become grainy when the cheese is added. 

after that has been heating for about 7 or 8 minutes, add the thyme, cayenne, and pepper and whisk to combine.

add the first cup of milk in and whisk to combine, and make sure the milk is really cold so there won't be lumps!!

then add the rest of the milk and ta-da!! a basic white b├Ęchamel sauce!
now add that pinch of nutmeg and add the worcestershire sauce in drops.
after, add that teaspoon of salt!

let this simmer on medium low heat for 8 minutes to let it thicken, but not too thick.. or adding the cheese would make the whole sauce super thick. please stir often, as the milk will burn. 

it's thick enough when it coats the back of your spatula or wooden spoon.

 turn off the heat to make sure that, when you add the cheese, the sauce won't be too hot...adding the cheese in a hot sauce makes the cheese curdle and grainy instead of it melting nice and smooth.

add 2 cups of cheese in small additions, making sure the cheese melts thoroughly.

see! mine was a little too thick...horrible. 

add a teaspoon of dijon mustard for more sharp flavor

after cooking your pasta (i didn't take any pictures of that, lo siento.) dump it in a 9x13 inch pan, along with your cheese sauce. 

sprinkle the extra 1/2 cup of cheese on top, along with the panko breadcrumbs/butter mixture, then bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or when the top is nice and crispy! 

another way to prevent the grainy texture is to add some slices of american cheese, which is proved to help break down the proteins in the cheese, preventing in from getting that nasty texture. also, using whole fat milk prevents grainy-ness since the fat acts as a stabilizer. i'll probably make this again, tweaking the recipe and whatnot..and i'll add the necessary updates :]

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