Date Cooked: January 11, 2009 Page: 288 Rating: B+
Nothing beats a good bowl of Macaroni and Cheese… or for those of us north of the US border, Kraft Dinner. I love boxed Macaroni and Cheese. I could eat it every day and the few times it gets made for my kids I often help myself to a few spoonfuls from their plates. I know it is probably not the best thing for people but I just love it. So when my wife decided that we should make homemade macaroni and cheese I was a just a little concerned. Was this going to upend my love of KD? Would my picky kids identify it out for the imposter it is and refuse to eat it?
The recipe starts out simple enough. Make bread crumbs. Some slices of bread and a few chunks of cold butter get a spin in my food processor (which I am truly beginning to hate more and more each time I pull it out). The final, crumbly mess gets set aside for future use. Onto the pasta!
With great skill born from months of honing my culinary abilities some water was boiled and pasta dropped in. Then came the fun part. Time to make a roux. I melted some butter in a dutch oven and once the foaming subsided I added some flour along with mustard and cayenne pepper. I’m definitely getting better at roux making and I must thank the Gumbo I made a few months ago for that. The biggest problem here was the mustard. The recipe calls for dry mustard powder and the only container I had of that I threw out when I found it a few weeks ago. I truly believe that I either inherited it from my great-grandmother or it was retrieved from deep beneath the bowels of my cupboards from the previous owner of the house. Either way it was never to be used. So as for the dilemma I figured I would add some French’s prepared mustard. I mean isn’t it just mustard powder already prepared?
Once the roux was cooked but not browned I slowly whisked in some milk. The mixture was brought to a boil and then simmered until it thickened up. Once suitably thick an enormous quantity of cheese was added (thankfully we decided that it would be wise to buy shredded cheese since I don’t have the best cheese grating equipment). Once the cheese had melted then the cooked pasta was tossed in and coated. Macaroni and cheese calls for elbow pasta but we didn’t have enough of it, so I threw in whatever other pasta we had available. This concerned some people later on.
The whole mixture was placed in a 9x13 baking dish and topped with the breadcrumbs before being put in the oven. Now this dish was almost overflowing and only half of the breadcrumbs fit on the macaroni. I figured we probably added too much pasta and that I probably shouldn’t have thrown in the last slice of bread in the package in the food processor, but it turns out that the 9x13 baking dish I have is actually 8x12. It actually explains a lot of previous difficulty with using this dish in recipes. Now that being said this recipe still makes way too many breadcrumbs.
Once removed from the oven it was left to cool for a few minutes before being served up. What did everyone think?
Rating: B+. It was good and the kids loved it. Even my picky 5 year old actually complimented it. My biggest issue with it was the breadcrumb topping. My wife didn’t mind it and the kids had no issue but I found it tasted too much like toast on my pasta. I had to mix the whole thing on my plate so I could minimize the textural taste of it. The use of multicolored pasta in it caused my son a little concern because he thought we were trying to sneak vegetables into it. He believed our excuse of using green pasta. Next time I’ll tell him it is pasta but actually use some vegetables. Did it surpass my love for KD though? No. It’s too different to replace the lovely processed cheese flavor of box macaroni and cheese. I love them both and they can each have a place on my plate.
I am a husband to a loving wife that shares my same interest for food and cooking. I am a father to two sons (and a newborn son) that have an aversion to food. I'm also a pretty bad cook... which could be their problem... but I'm working on it.
I'm attempting to cook-through 'The New Best Recipe' for two reasons. I want to educate myself on the culinary arts a little and I want to provide better and hopefully more interesting meal options for my family... oh yeah plus I find food photography real exciting so it gives me a chance to justify why I take pictures of food!