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

Relishing Cranberries

Combine antioxidant-rich cranberries with another seasonal favorite in this Cranberry Walnut Sweet Potatoes Recipe

SCANDAL!: Why Red Wagon Wasn't on the Pizza List

How could food critic Jason DeRusha leave off Red Wagon Pizza Company?! His reasoning—and your chance to celebrate the Minneapolis restaurant turning 3

Talkin’ Turkey: Are you Ready for the Big Feast?

Forget brining and get even better results with a flavorful spice-rubbed roast turkey recipe

Grilled Chicken Gremolata Sandwich Recipe

Step up your chicken sandwich repertoire with a bit of Italian flair

Best Pizza in The Twin Cities: RANKED!

With the Slice of the Twin Cities pizza competition this weekend, check out food critic Jason DeRusha's favorite pies. (You'll need the carbs before winter hits.)

“Sioux Chef” Challenges Definition of Local Food with Indigenous Restaurants

Chef Sean Sherman is revitalizing indigenous food traditions with two upcoming restaurants, a cookbook, and a nonprofit—using only food native to Minnesota
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sample, Savor, and Play at Slice of the Twin Cities Pizza Event November 5

Enjoy pizza, beer, wine, bonfires, and games on a beautiful piece of property in the western suburbs.

Lentil Mushroom Chili with Optional Ground Beef Recipe

This twist on traditional chili can satisfy both vegetarians and meat-eaters from the same pot

3 Things to Eat This Week: Oct. 26–29

Win tickets to Slice of the Twin Cities by voting for your favorite TC pizza—and this week, try a hearty chili bread bowl from Nolo's, the Yum Yum Bowl at World Street Kitchen, and food critic Joy Summers' big pizza winner last year, Northern Fires
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags