Macaroni & Cheese
Few things are as good as a steaming bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese, especially when it doesn’t come out of a box. There’s something very satisfying about making this classic dish yourself. And it tastes a whole lot better than anything made in a factory!
1/2 stick Butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
a big splash white wine
4 cups milk
1 12 ounce can unsweetened evaporated milk, or 1 1/2 cups regular milk
1 pound medium aged cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon paprika
a pinch cayenne pepper
a sprinkle or two salt
1/2 loaf Italian bread, torn into large pieces
a generous splash olive oil
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for several minutes until it softens and flavours the butter. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth paste forms (the roux). Combining the butter and flour into a roux first helps evenly distribute the flour throughout the sauce and prevents lumps.
Continue cooking a few more minutes as the roux toasts and develops a bit of flavour. Slowly stir in the wine and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth again.
Add both milks and switch to a whisk, mixing until the sauce is smooth again. Continue whisking until the mixture is very thick, a few minutes longer.
Stir in the cheeses, Dijon mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir the cooked pasta into the cheese mixture. Pour everything into a 9- x 13-inch (3.5 L) ovenproof casserole or baking dish.
Toss the bread with a splash or two of olive oil, then sprinkle it evenly over the top of the cheese mixture. Bake until it is heated through and the bread topping is [AU: replaced “breadcrumbs are”] golden brown, about 30 minutes.
As pasta cooks it will absorb the salt water and, in turn, be properly seasoned. A pinch or two of salt is not enough! Taste the water; it should remind you of a day at the beach. Cook the pasta until it’s al dente—tender but still quite a bit firm in the centre; it will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain it well, but don’t rinse, or you’ll drain away the surface starch that helps the sauce cling to it.