How do yo make homemade Mac n' cheese
Easiest thing in the world. But first you have to make your bechamel which is the "mother" sauce. Get your pasta water started. Make a roux of flour and butter---melt the butter until almost brown, gradually add the flour and stir steadily over medium flame. It should darken a bit. Meanwhile heat milk over medium-low heat just to scald but not boil. Whisk gradually into the cooked roux. DO NOT USE COLD MILK FOR THIS. There's your sauce. Boil the pasta to just below al dente stage. In a large bowl combine cooked pasta with your sauce and add your preferred cheese. Turn that out into a casserole and bake at 400F. Embellish as you wish but that's the basic thing.
This is how I make mine, although I only cook the pasta halfway because it will continue to cook in the oven and no one likes mushy pasta. Also, make sure to season your bechamel-- I use salt, pepper, and the traditional nutmeg. Pierino didn't mention quantities, but remember to use the same amount of butter and flour, and use enough milk to bring it to the consistency you want. I like to give the top of the casserole a layer of breadcrumbs and grated cheese to get a nice crust.
I've been making stovetop Mac N' Cheese this way for the past year:
- Cook macaroni until done to your preference (some people like al dente, others like softer) & drain, set aside
- In the same pot that you boiled the pasta, whisk together 1 can of evaporated milk (14oz?), 1 egg, and 1 TB cornstarch. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Add 3 cups of grated/crumbled/cut up cheese, your choice of cheese. I like to add a mixture of sharp cheddar, gruyere, and chevre. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth. Don't let the mixture boil. Taste and add salt if needed. I also like to add a 1/2 tsp dry mustard and a pinch of cayenne.
- Add the macaroni to the sauce and mix thoroughly. Heat until the pasta is warmed through.
- Plate it up and enjoy! (this even tastes good cold)
For the baked version, just pour into a casserole dish, top with more cheese or buttered cracker/bread crumbs, and bake for 30 minutes at 375F. But I prefer the stovetop version which is just as quick as the stuff from the box and way tastier.
I agree with all of the above, and just wanted to note a not-so-secret love of crushed potato chips as the topping. Crisps up beautifully in the oven. Brings many happy childhood memories right to mind.