Nothing could be tastier than a good portion of well known creamy Mac and Cheese. Once you try it you will come back more and more to this recipe. Easy, fast and tasty!
The creamy Mac and Cheese Recipe is a very famous and popular dish in the US and Canada. It is a well-known “comfort food”, that is consumed daily by millions.
The history of Mac and Cheese dates back to the 18th century in Italy. Thomas Jefferson, the US President, during an official visit to Italy remained very pleased to discover the pasta. He even ordered a pasta extruder to prepare it in the US, as well as the original Italian Parmigiano. He had introduced creamy “Mac and Cheese” to an official dinner and since then it has become famous, until nowadays.
There is no authentic recipe for Mac and Cheese, but it varies depending on the area and the proportions of the ingredients.
In supermarkets, we can find a lot of frozen types of Mac and Cheese. And, although the recipe is so simple, many Americans choose to buy pasta in the envelope, just to boil it and then put it in the oven. This idea seems to be good for a teenager who hasn’t learned to cook yet, but it doesn’t sound healthy to me at all.
Mac and Cheese is loved by children in particular. What could be better than a good portion of pasta infused in béchamel sauce and melting cheese!
How to make Mac and Cheese?
The making process of sauce seemed to be a bit long and confusing. But if you carefully read the steps and prepare in advance all ingredients – the sauce will be ready even faster than pasta.
The cooking process starts with boiling pasta. The pasta I usually use to make this creamy and delicious Mac and Cheese is generally small pasta like snails or spiral, but in case you do not have these kinds just use whatever you have in your kitchen. In Italy exists the rule of cooking perfect pasta which is called shortly 1110. It so easy to remember and it is good to follow – for every 100 grams of pasta use 1 liter of boiling water and 10 grams of salt. Then boil your pasta as mentioned on the package. Take care not to over boil the pasta, it should be ‘al dente’.
While the pasta is boiling, we will prepare the sauce. Obtaining the perfect cheese sauce for creamy Mac and Cheese I can say is no easy. I’ve tried a lot of varieties of cheeses and have stopped on the combination used in this recipe. This mixture of cheese will become beloved as well by kids as by adults. The secret is that you need to take both softer and harder kind of cheese, so the texture of the sauce will be richer and the taste more intense.
For the sauce: first of all grate 400 grams(14 oz) of cheese- I took 100 gr of each, Cheddar, Gouda, Emmentaler, and Parmigiano. Then in a thick-bottomed stewpan, melt 60 grams (4 tbsp) of butter on medium heat. Slowly add 30 grams (2 tbsp) of flour stirring well by using a whisk. In two minutes you will have a smooth mass. This dressing is often used to thicken sauces. Then slowly pour the 800 ml (3 ½ cup) of milk, stirring constantly until the flour will dissolve completely. You should obtain a thick, homogeneous sauce. At that moment, lower the temperature on your heat, and add salt, pepper, ground garlic, and a little nutmeg. Mix well and then incorporate 350 grams(12 oz) of cheese. I have left 50 grams of Parmesan to top the Mac and Cheese casserole. Whisk well after each of them, until all the cheese is melted. Do not overcook because it may curdle.
In the meanwhile, the pasta has boiled, drain it and then pour it in a casserole. Add the sauce over the pasta and mix gently so as not to break the pasta. Then garnish the casserole with the remaining cheese. Put it in the preheated oven at 180°C (370°F) for about 15 minutes. And voila! Best creamy Mac and Cheese casserole are done!
What goes with creamy Mac and Cheese?
This versatile homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe can be served as it is, or as a side dish. A good combination can be dishes from pork or chicken. If you want it restaurant-like you can add lobster or other crustaceans. And of course, do not forget to serve it with a good glass of qualitative white wine. My favorites are Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
How to store Mac and Cheese?
The home-made Mac and Cheese casserole can be easily stored in a fridge for up to 4 days. You can easily cover the casserole with a piece of cling film or to move the dish to airtight storage containers. Close the container tightly, in order for your Mac and Cheese not to absorb the smell of the other food from the fridge. Also if you made a big portion, do not throw away. Just freeze it with no doubt. Make sure the Mac and Cheese completely get cold. It is very important for freezing to use only airtight storage containers.
How to reheat Mac and Cheese?
The Mac and Cheese dish is best enjoyed when it’s just made. But if you have it in your fridge or freezer you can easily reheat it in the microwave. Usually, when the macaroni is stored they can seem dry, that is why before heating add a splash of milk or cream. This will make it creamier.
- Use small kinds of pasta, so your homemade Mac and Cheese will seem more fluffy.
- If you want it gluten-free just substitute regular flour in the sauce with rice one or do not add it at all. For macaroni substitute with gluten-free once. There is a big choice in markets now. For me I love Barila, they have few types of gluten-free pasta.
- Take care not to boil too much past, as it becomes bloated and mush.
- A combination of cheese could vary. Don’t be scared of experiments.
- For more intense taste I love to add spices. It depends on my mood, it can be paprika, nutmeg, ground garlic or Italian herbs.
Creamy Mac and Cheese
- rubber spatula
- 400 gr pasta
- 40 gr sea salt
- 100 gr cheddar
- 100 gr gouda
- 100 gr emmentaler
- 100 gr parmigiano
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 ½ cups milk
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 pinch ground garlic
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Boil 400 grams (14 oz) of pasta as mentioned on the package.
- Grate 400 grams (14 oz) of cheese (100 gr of each: Cheddar, Gouda, Emmentaler and Parmesan).
- In a thick-bottomed stewpan, melt 60 grams(4 tbsp) of butter at medium heat. Slowly add 30 grams(2 tbsp) of flour and stir well with a whisk.
- Then gently pour the 800 ml (3 ½ cup) of milk, stirring constantly until the flour will dissolve completely.
- Lower the temperature, and add a pinch of salt, pepper, ground garlic and a little grated nutmeg. Mix well and then incorporate 350 grams (12 oz) of cheese, until it is melted.
- At the moment the pasta is boiled, drain it and then pour it in a casserole. Add the sauce over the pasta and mix gently not to break the pasta. Then garnish the casserole with the remaining cheese.
- Put it in the preheated oven at 180°C (370°F) for about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediatly.