Chesterman: Mac and Cheese Recipe

macandcheese
Dining critic Lesley Chesterman can be heard every Wednesday morning at 7:10 A.M. on CHOM 97 7 in Montreal.

For more recipes and kitchen tips, follow Lesley on Instagram: @lesleychestrman.


Everyone seems to be eating mac & cheese this week so here’s my version I served last night for my son’s birthday. (Macaroni seems to be sold out everywhere but I found some at Couche Tard.)

Serves 6-8

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (plus a bit more for greasing the dish)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, not too fine
  • 2 cups grated cheddar

Cheese sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 cups cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 cups grated cheese (I like a mix of 2 parts sharp cheddar & 1 part gruyère and/or pecorino)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
     

Instructions:

WASH YOUR HANDS!

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish.

Toss together bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Set aside.

In a large, deep-bottomed saucepan or Dutch over medium heat, melt the 1/2 cup of butter then add flour and whisk to combine.

Cook, whisking, 1 minute until you have a smooth paste (a.k.a roux).

Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the milk and whisk until everything is smooth and well combined. Be patient and whisk until the mixture is thick and completely lump-free.

Pour in the next 2 cups and whisk again, then repeat the operation with the last of the milk. You should end up with a velvety sauce, just a bit thicker than heavy cream. Let come to a boil, then leave it to simmer while you bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook the macaroni. Be sure to whisk often because this sauce (a béchamel) burns easily.

When your water is boiling, cook the macaroni for a minute less than the package instructions. Meanwhile, whisk the salt, nutmeg, pepper, cayenne and remaining 4 cups cheese into the sauce.

Once the macaroni is done, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and add to the cheese sauce.

Stir to combine and pour into your prepared mould. It will look runny but don’t worry, the pasta will absorb the sauce as it cooks.

Sprinkle over the 2 cups grated cheddar followed by the bread crumbs evenly overtop.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the perimeter.

Cool for a few minutes WASH YOUR HANDS & serve. 

For more recipes and kitchen tips, follow Lesley on Instagram: @lesleychestrman.