Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mac N'Cheese

Mac N'Cheese has gained popularity in the last 10 years........... what am I saying, it has always been popular.

Mac N'Cheese has been re-visited in the last 10 years, that's more like it. Next week, between March 7 to 11, 2016  there will be Mac N'Cheese competitions all over Toronto, Montreal and Québec.

Who makes the gooiest, who makes the most creamy, who has the most original recipe etc etc.
People will eat Mac N'Cheese for 5 straight days and vote for the most original recipe.

Well I decided to participate with the Mac N'Cheese frenzy. Only me, one participant, but OOOO what a Mac N'Cheese I've created by combining two delicious recipes from the Québec chef Louis-François Marcotte from Signé M.

* There are two ways of doing this recipe, you can cook your macaroni completely, and when ready serve the Mac N'Cheese immediately.....OR..... you can cook the pasta half way, let the dish stand for the night and finish cooking the next day for 30 min at 350F.

So here goes.

Mac N'Cheese....... another one.

2 cups elbow pasta (macaroni)
Boiling water in a big enough pot.

Béchamel / Cheese sauce
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, cubbed rather small
1/2 cup celery, cubbed same as onion **
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp thyme
1 laurier leaf
3 cloves
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk (you might want to heat this a min in the microwave)
2 tbsp of Ketchup (yep, ordinary regular Ketchup)

1/2 cup white wine
2 cups of cheese, shredded. You can combine 2-3 kinds of your favorite cheeses as long as you have one strong flavored one. (I used sharp Cheddar, Tête Dure and Cantonnier) 

Salt & Pepper

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta for ONLY 5 min. This is very important because you want it to finish cooking in the sauce in the oven later on.

On medium heat, melt butter in a deep pan. Sauté onions and celery, do not brown. Add all the dry spices, stir well and then sprinkle flour over the mix and stir well to blend.

Add the milk one cup at a time stirring non stop, turn the heat down to 4 (5 being medium). Keep adding the milk and stirring non-stop until all milk has been added.

Add the ketchup and stir to blend.

Be attentive to this part of the recipe.
Remove from heat and add 1/2 the shredded cheeses, stir to melt and put back on warm stove element. Stir, Try not to let this bubble, turn down heat if necessary.

Pour the wine into the rest of the cheese, mix.

Keep the pot on the element and add the rest of the cheese to the bechamel. Mix well. At this point you might have to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more of milk if you find the sauce too thick. Salt & Pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

At this point the macaroni should be ready, but only semi-cooked. The reason for this is that we want the pasta to absord the cheese sauce as they finish cooking........ tomorrow.

Now, drain the pasta and pour the cheese sauce into the cooked pasta, mix well. Pour this into a rectangular buttered pan big enough to hold all. Let it rest for at least 4-5 hours or all night (I do all night)

Heat oven at 325F and when your ready to cook it, sprinkle with a mixture of bread crumbs and a shredded cheese of your choice.

Cook for 30 min at 325F. Serve immediately.

** In one of the original recipes, it says to drain the cheese sauce before mixing with the pasta to get rid of the onion and celery pieces. I just find that's a waste so I left them in. 

Enjoy. JMSK

Mac N'Cheese revisited. Fresh out of the oven 

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