the daily doyle

How to Make Macaroni and Cheese
May 15, 2011, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Food stuff

Dead easy. You grab the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese box and you… STOP!

No, you do not grab the KMAC box. If you have one throw it away. Now. And don’t buy any more.

It’s cheap. And it’s easy. But you know what, your life will probably turn out better if you leave the cheap and easy things alone. I could tell you stories.

If you want to make Mac and Cheese MY way, you gotta start with REAL food:

Butter (REAL butter, no margarine, no olive oil, no substitute of any kind. Butter!)

Milk (whole milk, if you please; you could use cream if you like but that’s kind of over the top.)

Cheese (of course real cheese, pretty much whatever kind you fancy; we usually use cheddar or colby-jack.) “Cheese is the most amazing thing on the planet; mac and cheese is probably the second most amazing (and convenient) thing on the planet… Both following the actual most amazing thing on the planet.” -Atika

Pasta (If you want to pretend to care about being healthy, use whole-grain or Dreamfields carb-controlled pasta. But come on, this is comfort food, enjoy it, eat a salad tomorrow. Really though I like the taste/texture of Dreamfields better. Choose what you like.)

Note that the list of ingredients does not tell you how much to use. That’s because I don’t measure anything. Just put in what you think looks right and, if it’s wrong, put less or more next time.

Here’s how you make it:

1. Boil some water and get the pasta cooking.

2. Cut the cheese! Do NOT use pre-shredded cheese for anything ever. There is something seriously wrong with shredded cheese in a package. With all that surface area, why doesn’t it go bad sooner? I’m not sure what they put in or on it to extend the shelf life but I’m sure it’s not good. Just buy a hunk of cheese, it’s cheaper anyway. You can just cut the cheese up into small pieces or use your own shredder.

3. I can’t tell you how long to cook pasta. I don’t measure anything and don’t time anything. Just get it somewhere between crunchy and mushy. Once you think it’s done, strain out the water and leave it in the pot. Return it to the burner on medium heat.

4. Quick, before the pasta starts to burn, put in some milk, not much, just enough to kind of coat the bottom of the pot.

5. Now add some butter and stir it a bit while it melts.

6. Add salt somewhere along here, doesn’t really matter when.

7. So now you have a pot of pasta all coated with milk, butter and salt. Yum! Actually you could eat that and it would be good. But let’s borrow a line from Emeril and “kick it up a notch”. Start adding cheese a little at at time and stirring it while it melts.

8. And that’s it, you eat it!

I will tell you that the melted cheese can be tough to clean out of the pot. Don’t burn it or you’re really have a tough time! Provided that you didn’t burn it, clean up isn’t so bad. If you have a sponge, rag or brush for washing dishes, I don’t advise that you use it. You’ll end up spending more time cleaning the cheese out of the sponge or whatever you have. Use paper towels instead, just like you would use a sponge.

If you want something a little different, between steps 6 and 7, break an egg into the pot and stir it around while it cooks. Doesn’t sound good but it is, and for chemical reasons I don’t understand, if you use an egg the cheese doesn’t stick to the pan as much.

I can make mac and cheese my way almost as quickly as you can make the Kraft stuff out of the box and the results are just not comparable.

For special occasions I have another variation. Make the pasta as above. Then in a separate pot, heat up heavy cream, butter and salt and slowly add the cheese, stirring as it melts. This makes a “roux”. Love that word. Once the pasta is done and cheese is fully melted into the roux, just get them together.

Here is a clever tip for the roux: Take a little bit of the water from the pasta and mix it up with the roux just before you pour it into the pasta. Again, this is something chemical that I don’t understand but somehow the starch in the water makes the sauce stick to the pasta better.

Make that roux thing with bowtie pasta for your girl on Valenines day and serve it with candles on the table and you can’t go wrong. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a trailer-park way to celebrate Valentines Day but hey, it’s better than waiting in line with everybody else at an overpriced restaurant.

My recipe is a little simple but good. You can get creative and add lots of things to it to “kick it up a notch”. Pepper, garlic, onions, tomatoes, whatever. Get creative. I’ve been wanting to make this killer recipe from Guy Fieri but just haven’t gotten around to it:

They’ll never put THAT in a box!

Good eatin’!



7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“Just get it somewhere between crunchy and mushy.” Julia Child is rotating rapidly in her grave, wherever it is.

Comment by Karen

I’m with you, Karen! Gotta be more precise than that.

Comment by FixMyText

To make a roux you melt the butter in the pot & add flour & stir & cook for just a minute till it’s all blended & smooth and then you add the milk. That’s your basic white sauce. Then you can add the cheese or whatever. The roux part is the butter & flour cooked together.

Comment by Kelly

Sounds good, when are we eatin’?

Comment by doylemills

Well, I just made a homemade three cheese Mac n cheese for a party Sat, but it’s all gone and now we’re back to dieting, soooo next time I get a hankering, I will for sure bring you some. (I know, bad grammar!)

Comment by FixMyText

I read this to Logan and Atika last night. Atika laughed three times. Logan’s first comment was “mold inhibitor”. I said, “what?” and he repeated “mold inhibitor” as I looked at him blankly. “That’s what they put on shredded cheese to keep it from going bad.” Ok then, now we know. Doesn’t sound good to me. I’m sticking to non-shredded cheese.

Comment by doylemills

I am going to try out your recipe! Sounds good.

Thanks Doyle,

Comment by Mary Collins

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