The art of classic cooking

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mac and Cheese ( baked macaroni and cheese )

Mac & Cheese - a classic and comfort food. A plateful of this on a rainy day, watching a favorite movie....( ahhhh I will be heaven!!!!). I am a pasta fan too ( well first a chocolate fan !!!). I love those cute little shapes :) and this was in my to try list for a long time. Finally  I tried during my little sister and cousin visit. We enjoyed it a lot. It's a quite heavy meal, so make sure you are ravenous.
I did baked version of mac and cheese as I like the crusty bread crumbs on top. The spice infused milk adds an authentic flavour to pasta. Check the notes section for stove top version( without an oven ).

mac and cheese baked

Look at all the bubbly cheese!!!!

mac and cheese baked and stove top version

Recipe reference: here

Macaroni - 1 1/4 cup
Cheddar Cheese - 1/2 cup
Mozrella Cheese - 1/2 cup
Milk - 2 cups
Butter - 2 tbsp
Flour - 2 tbsp
Onion - 1 (diced)
Clove -1
Bay Leaf - 1
Garlic - 3 cloves ( finely chopped )
Mustard powder - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg - a pinch
Chilli Flakes - 1 tsp (optional)
Bread - 1 slice
Melted Butter/oil - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp ( for tossing pasta)
Salt - to taste

1) In  a pan heat milk. Add diced onions, clove and bay leaf and simmer it for 10 minutes. Strain and keep aside.
2) Boil water along with salt in a separate pan and add pasta. Cook till it is soft but still firm to bite ( al dente as they call it :) ) Drain water and toss with a tsp of oil to prevent from sticking to each other. Keep aside.

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3) To make mustard powder, take some whole mustard in a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.
4) Next melt 2 tbsp butter in a pan.

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5) Add finely chopped garlic and fry in medium flame without browning. Now reduce to low flame and whisk in flour and fry will till the raw smell disappears ( about 1 to 2 minutes) Take care not to brown the flour.

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6) Add milk slowly, stirring constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Keep stirring in low flame. The mixture will thicken up like a cream, now add both the cheeses (saving some for topping)
7) Now season with salt and pepper and mustard powder.

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8) Add chilli flakes and nutmeg and give it a toss. Finally add the pasta and mix well.

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9) Preheat oven at 200 deg for 10 minutes. Transfer the pasta mixture to an oven safe dish and top with some remaining cheese. In a mixer grind a bread slice to get some fresh bread crumbs.

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10) Add 1 tbsp melted butter to this bread crumb and sprinkle on top of pasta cheese mixture. Bake at 200 deg for 20 to 25 minutes or till golden brown on top.

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Warm, delicious Mac and Cheese is ready!!!!

mac and cheese

A little closer look...

mac and cheese baked version

1)  Make sure you don't overcook the pasta else it will be mushy and the pasta won't hold its shape. Just test a piece while boiling, it should be soft yet firm to bite.
2) While adding milk to make white sauce, stir continuously to avoid lumps.
3) You can even bake in small individual ramekins..easy for serving too :)
4) Stove top version: If you don't have an oven, follow the same procedure till step 8. Toast the bread crumbs with melted butter in a pan till golden brown and top the pasta. Serve hot.
5) Make sure you season well or it will taste bland.

macaroni and cheese