Edit ModuleShow Tags

Kid Requested, Chef Made: Mac and Cheese Casserole


Published:

This past Valentines Day, I offered my girls their hearts' desire for dinner, and without much deliberation, they requested mac and cheese, a meal not often on the menu at our house. I knew they really wanted the processed package of mac they’d been eyeing in the cupboard ever since we bought it, but I decided to make it from scratch instead.

Making mac from scratch is easy and you get to use a classic French sauce-making technique. All you have to do is thicken some milk with butter and flower, and whisk in some cheese. It’s a wonder how popular the packaged stuff is.
 

Valentine’s Mac and Cheese Casserole

Make a white roux by melting a thick knob of butter in a pot large enough to accommodate the noodles. Add an equal amount of flour. Smell the flour cooking, and look for a pale shade of white. Whisk in cold milk and a pinch of nutmeg. This can be called béchamel* and is considered a mother sauce or foundational sauce of French cooking.

When the sauce is smooth, stir in shredded cheese. I used parm and the kids’ favorite, “yellow cheese.” When cheese is added to béchamel, it becomes “mornay” (cheese sauce).

Cook the noodles (shells or elbow macaroni work well), and add them to the sauce. Optionally, add chunks of ham, cooked bacon or blanched broccoli flowers.

Pour the cheesy noodle mixture into a hot iron pan. Liberally sprinkle buttered and seasoned breadcrumbs on the mac and cheese and put it into an oven set to its highest setting. 

Remove the casserole when the breadcrumbs are browned, the sauce has bubbled, and a thick crust has formed on the top.

*In a more traditional béchamel, the milk is steeped with an onion studded with cloves and a bay leaf.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Pizza Lovers' Camp for Grown-Ups

Overnight pizza-centric camp on July 7 combines pizza amore with classic outdoor camp activities

3 Things to Eat This Week: Pride Edition

Pride weekend is also one of your last chances to eat at wonderful restaurants before they close

Ask Jason: Best Ramen, Shrimp, Dinner Date, and More

Your food questions answered

Stout-Marinated Grilled Tri-Tip Recipe

Treat dad or any lucky guest to flavorful, juicy beef with a splash of beer in the mix with this recipe from meat expert Bruce Aidells

6 Foods to Pack for the Cabin

Don't head north to the cabin without these delicious necessities

The Driscoll’s Difference

Driscoll’s goes to great lengths to ensure every clamshell on the shelves is packed with only the most flavorful, deliciously ripe berries.

Meet the Joy Makers

Meet the Joy Makers

Back to School Prep! Bento boxes are Easy Breakfasts that can be Prepped Ahead

The strategy for conquering the crazy weekday mornings is the all important prep.

Top 6 Frozen Drinks in the Twin Cities

Find the best spiked slushees and frozen rosé here
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags