Oct 13, 2008

Three Cheese Macaroni

I typed up this recipe I made for a co-worker and though "Hey! I bet other people would like to try it out also!"
So here you go... my fancy macaroni & cheese recipe:

To make this macaroni & cheese recipe, you will need:
White flour
Milk (whole, 2 %, non-fat…. It’s all good)
Cheddar cheese (at least 3 cups of it grated)
Gruyere cheese (about 4 – 6 oz. ungrated)
Brie cheese (a small ‘wheel’ about the size of your palm. If you can’t find it in a round wheel, you can use the wedge type, just get two of them. You’ll want about 8 oz. total. I used goat’s milk brie, but there might be other types)
Noodles (your choice, but I like the elbow type or the small shells)

I don’t have an exact recipe for this, I kind of just work with it until I get the proportions right.

You need to start with a basic white sauce:
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp white flour
1 Cup milk
Salt & pepper

Melt butter over med heat in a saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste*. Then add flour after the butter is all melted.
Working quickly, stir the flour into the butter so that no lumps remain.
Keep stirring as you slowly add the milk.
Continue stirring over med heat until sauce thickens, usually about 10 mins or so.

* You can omit the salt and pepper totally, and only add it after you’ve made the sauce a few times to get a good idea of how much to use.
You can also get a little crazy and add things like garlic or other seasonings to give the sauce more flavor. For mac & cheese, though, I stick with just salt & pepper.
Also: this is the basic recipe for a thick white sauce.
Variations are :
1 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp flour + 2 Cups milk = thinner sauce
1 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp flour + 3 Cups milk = very thin sauce (almost like a light gravy)
You can double up the recipe and get the same results. You can also use a little more butter or milk, but the flour is what makes it thicken up so don’t use more than required.

Once you’ve got the sauce made, but keeping it on med-low heat and stirring occasionally, start boiling the noodles and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
I never measure out the noodles, so I’m guessing on how much to use.
About ½ lb of noodles will cook up and fill an 11 x 8 x 2 casserole dish (more or less)
If you make too many noodles, you can add a little more milk to your white sauce and make enough to fill two smaller casserole dishes (freeze one and have it later).

While the noodles are boiling, grate up some cheddar and gruyere cheese (about 2 cups of cheddar and one cup of gruyere... or however much you get out of the amount you bought. More cheese won’t be a problem).
(FYI: Gruyere is a very soft “semi-soft” cheese. It has a very low melting point, so grate it while it’s cold to make it easier)
The Brie should be at room temp. and in fact the softer it is, the better.

Put about a cup of the grated cheddar (a little at a time) into the white sauce and stir well to get it melted.
Then put in all the gruyere (a little at a time) and do the same.
Cut the brie wheel in half and scoop out the soft cheese inside and put it into the white sauce, stirring with each addition.

Your sauce should be nice and thick at this point and your noodles should be done.
Drain the noodles and then dump them into the casserole dish and pour the sauce over them. Mix it all together and top it off with the last of the cheddar cheese. (You can also mix them up in a large bowl and then put the mixture into the casserole dish if you think you might make a mess the other way)
Put it in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes. This melts the cheese on top and gets it all bubbly.

That’s it. It has a very mild flavor but is also very creamy tasting.

** Update 1:30 p.m.
I didn't think of it before, but I bet adding some bacon to this would make it even more fantastic.
I'll have to try that next time I make this.

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