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Jason Sobocinski’s Macaroni and Cheese
Jason’s recipe for macaroni and cheese is basic and simple, so feel free to add or omit different cheeses. There is a ton of cheese in this (Got a problem with that?).
Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
¼ pound Chevre (fresh goats’ milk cheese)
½ pound X Sharp Vermont Cheddar
½ pound A Year Aged Gouda
½ pound 12 month aged Comte or Gruyere
½ pound Raclette French or Swiss will do
½ pound Provolone
Plus any bits, nibs, ends or leftover numbs of any cheese you have kicking around in your fridge.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 quart milk
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
Now preheat your oven to 375-400 degrees.
Cook your pasta, in this case we’ll say 2lb of orchiette macaroni, in a stock pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Since every pasta is different you’ll need to check it frequently to make sure you don’t over cook it but a general rule is to not let it go longer than 8 minutes. I like to start checking around 5 minutes.
Crumble chevre into small pieces and grate the other cheeses. Mix together and set aside.
Make your roux: Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until completely incorporated (no lumps). Let this mixture cook gently on the stove until light golden but not brown.
In a medium sauce pot, bring milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add in roux, whisking constantly, until mixture returns to a slight simmer. The mix will thicken. Turn off the heat.
You now have a béchamel sauce, so it’s time for the cheese.
Add 2/3 of the cheese mix, and put the heat back on to low, all the time stirring until the cheese is melted and incorporated nicely into the béchamel. Do not walk away or raise the heat higher than low as it could cause your sauce to break.
Add freshly grated nutmeg. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander and run cold water over it to cool it slightly. Now on to the marriage of two of my all time favorites, Mac and Cheese!
Introducing cooled Mac to hot Cheese Sauce. This is key because your Mac is not completely cooked and you want those final cooking moments to really get cheese sauce into your Macaroni equaling a more flavorful and consistent dish. The slightly cooled, but not ice cold macaroni will suck up the warm sauce if you do this right.
That last 1/3 of your grated cheese mix that you reserved can now be folded in. I like to have lots of creamy delicious cheese sauce with pockets of grated cheese here and there for good stretchablity while eating.
Now it’s time for the final stage: Bake it off. Going back to texture, a baked Mac and Cheese is super creamy luscious with a crispy baked top. I love to use panko bread crumbs, brioche breadcrumbs or even just left over stale bread ground up in a whizzer machine (food processor), season your crumbs with a bit of salt and pepper and to really take it to the next level add a bit of your favorite hard grated cheese (pecorino, super aged cheddar, parmigiano) to the crumbs. More cheese is always a good thing.
Pour the cooked macaroni into a large bowl and add the cheese sauce. Stir to combine, making sure every macaroni is coated with the sauce. Add in most or the reserved cheese mixture, saving some to sprinkle on top. Pour the mixture into a large cast iron skillet or oven-proof baking dish.
Top generously with the last bit of the reserved cheese mixture and an even coating of fresh bread crumbs. Pop the dish into a hot 375-400 degree oven on the top rack.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until you see the sauce bubbling and the crust is golden brown and crisp. Pull from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before eating so that the cheese can settle down and you don’t burn yourself.
This recipe is loose, you can make it with about 1-2 lbs or more orchiette pasta depending on how cheesy you like your Mac and Cheese or just make the cheese sauce and make as much or little Mac and Cheese as you like. The sauce can hold in your fridge for about 5 days if kept covered and can be used in about 1000 ways.
Mac and Cheese must be eaten with a great beer. Jason’s favorite is Houblon Chouffe, a triple hopped Belgian IPA. The creaminess of the beer works with the cheese but it also has some great hoppiness that cuts through its richness.
Hot sauce is also a must.