Cooking with Bwog: Mac ‘N’ Cheese
Written by Bwog Staff
It’s midterms season and we know you’re craving comfort food, so let Bwog’s resident pasta master Matt Powell show you how to make some noodles for noshing in this week’s Cooking with Bwog.
Mom’s Old Fashioned Mac ‘N’ Cheese
- 1 lb. macaroni
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 10 pearl onions, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 C cream
- 1 C milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 lb. Taleggio Cheese, rind removed
- 1/4 lb. parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 16 slices of prosciutto (optional)
- ½ C bread crumbs (optional)
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente (about 10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Place a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Allow the butter to melt. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions and garlic start to become soft. Whisk in the cream and milk. Add the bay leaves. Bring the cream/milk to just below a boil. It should be hot to the touch. Once the milk/cream is hot, add in the cheeses. Whisk until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Add in the cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Whisk to distribute the cornstarch. If necessary, add more cornstarch to thicken.
- Once the noodles and sauce are ready, remove the bay leaves. Strain the noodles. Combine the noodles and sauce in a large casserole dish. Add in the prosciutto, shredding it by hand. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, until the top begins to turn golden and crispy.
The Grown-up Version of Mac ‘N’ Cheese
- 2 chicken breasts, tenderized
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. of macaroni pasta
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 1/2 C whole milk
- 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
- 4 oz. Sharp Cheddar, grated
- 2. oz. Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 C bread crumbs
- Chopped Basil
- Chopped Tarragon
- Saute the chicken breast: In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in the skillet and saute until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes per side–I’m dealing with West Side chicken breast which is abnormally large.) Once chicken is cooked through (not pink on the inside, and the juices run clear), set aside on a plate to cool. Once the chicken is cool, dice the chicken breasts.
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente (about 10 minutes). Strain and set aside when finished.
- Meanwhile, make your sauce. Start with the roux. (A roux is a mixture of butter and flour that is essential to many sauces. It acts as a thickener and it also imparts a unique nutty taste.) To begin the roux, heat the butter in a pot. Allow it to melt completely. Once the butter has melted, add in the flour, whisking to incorporate the flour into the butter completely. Allow the flour-butter to cook until it begins to take on a light brown color. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- While the roux cooks, heat the milk in a separate saucepan. Do not boil the milk. Allow it to come to just under a boil. Once the roux is ready and the milk is hot, slowly whisk the milk into the roux. Whisk for two minutes until thickened and smooth. Turn off the heat. Whisk in the cheeses, pepper, and salt to taste until the sauce is smooth.
- Add the cooked pasta and the diced chicken to your sauce.
- Transfer the pasta to a casserole dish or to individual ramekin dishes. Top the pasta with the bread crumbs. Bake in the oven on 400 degrees for 10 minutes (for individual sizes) or 15-20 (for one large dish), until the bread crumbs begin to brown and the top becomes crispy. Serve garnished with the chopped herbs.