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Old 05-05-2015, 12:06 PM   #11
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Experiment with different cheeses.

Comte or gruyere is one of my favorites.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:12 PM   #12
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For my mac and cheese, I start by warming cream until it's near bubbling hot. I then add grated very sharp cheddar (aged 3 years or more), Extra sharp Pinconing, Havarti, and Asiago as it has a little stronger flavor than does Parmesiano. All cheese must be grated. Remove the hot cream from heat, and sprinkle in the cheeses until completely blended, and silky smooth.

My Stepfather, when alive, loved mac & cheese baked as a casserole, with the cheese being U.S. Commodities cheese, like that he'd grown up with during the WWII years. I have to admit, it makes pretty good mac & cheese. Me, I've even been known to throw in American Cheese, or Velveeta.

Choose a pasta that will really hold the cheese, like Fusili Rigati,Penne, cavetelli, or even shells. Add browned ground beef, or Kielbassa. Both breakfast sausage and Italian sausage will work in your cheese mac as well.

For a little different take, add a bit of chili powder, and some cooked chorizo, maybe a jalapeno or two.

The key to great mac & cheese is the kind of pasta, and your blend of cheeses. Some like their mac & cheese on the dry side, while others like it creamy and wet. The ingredients mentioned by everyone who has so far posted all work great. But with tomato, be careful. Too much tomato will turn your mac and cheese into something like tomato soup.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:38 PM   #13
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We love this Macaroni and Cheese My Way Recipe : Food Network and have been making it for years and years. We don't use large pasta shells, just regular shells or bow ties or whatever shaped pasta we decide to use or have on hand. Otherwise, we make it exactly like the recipe. We've always used tasso but I'm sure it would be good with regular bacon too.

Periodically, we also do a clean out the freezer cheese bag that has odds and bits of various leftover cheeses that we wrap up and then throw in a big bag. The results have ranged from sublime to okay. Unfortunately, I never measure or weigh when I make this so can never reproduce any of them.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:49 PM   #14
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The Ultimate Mac & Cheese - What Should I Add?

Not usually a fan of mac and cheese, but one of our favorite restaurants south of the border has lobster mac and cheese, very popular. They use a ridged small tube pasta, big chunks of lobster, really good mix of sharp and mild cheeses, and top it with crushed Cheetos. Muy bueno!
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:15 PM   #15
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I tend to use a lot more words than I should.
The method is pretty straightforward and easy.
Bulb fennel goes well with any type of fish no matter the fish or how it's cooked. Fennel has a light licorice flavor.
The key is to make a bechamel the consistency of heavy cream.
Nothing worse than a glocky gummy mac and cheese IMO.
I like Manchester. Used to live in Winchester as a kid.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:31 PM   #16
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I also routinely add sliced tomatoes to the top and bread crumbs - this is my favorite way to make mac n cheese. The acid is a nice counterpoint to the cheese.

Another nice option is to incorporate several handfuls of fresh chopped parsley and some large chunks of palm heart.

Consider a change to a custard based mac n cheese with eggs for a twist and then include some chunks of herbed goat cheese, rolled in cornflake crumbs in the bake. Carefully push the goat cheese bombs into the filled baking dish. They will melt during cooking (the crumbs keep them intact) and become lovely melty flavor punches when served.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:50 PM   #17
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puffin, your first post looked more like a science text than mac and cheese recipes ever should!

**************

em, I'm another one who has made the sauce from bits and dabs of orphans cheeses. I also make my cheese sauce a simple way: melt butter, add equal amount flour, stir until they are blended smooth and just start to darken (I like my mac & cheese roux on the light golden side, not too brown). Then add your milk/cream, stir almost constantly until thickened. The common ration is 2 Tbsp butter/2 Tbsp flour/1 cup milk, one cup shredded cheese. I almost always use two cups cheese... Every once in a while I get a taste for just a little sauteed onion flavor in the dish. At those times I just add the minced onion to the butter as it melts and cook until it becomes clear. (I use just a bit more butter-to-flour than I would without onion.) Then proceed with flour, etc.

Another fan of shaped pastas. The more wrinkles and twists, the more places for the clingy cheese sauce to latch onto. Yum!

When we have leftover ham, I like to add chunks of that into the mac & cheese. I've always wanted to try it using a Swiss-style cheese for the sauce, but never seem to have any on hand when the ham is in the fridge.
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
puffin, your first post looked more like a science text than mac and cheese recipes ever should!

**************

em, I'm another one who has made the sauce from bits and dabs of orphans cheeses. I also make my cheese sauce a simple way: melt butter, add equal amount flour, stir until they are blended smooth and just start to darken (I like my mac & cheese roux on the light golden side, not too brown). Then add your milk/cream, stir almost constantly until thickened. The common ration is 2 Tbsp butter/2 Tbsp flour/1 cup milk, one cup shredded cheese. I almost always use two cups cheese... Every once in a while I get a taste for just a little sauteed onion flavor in the dish. At those times I just add the minced onion to the butter as it melts and cook until it becomes clear. (I use just a bit more butter-to-flour than I would without onion.) Then proceed with flour, etc.

Another fan of shaped pastas. The more wrinkles and twists, the more places for the clingy cheese sauce to latch onto. Yum!

When we have leftover ham, I like to add chunks of that into the mac & cheese. I've always wanted to try it using a Swiss-style cheese for the sauce, but never seem to have any on hand when the ham is in the fridge.
All food cooking is basic chemistry experiments. LOL
I'm lucky. Making excellent food is my life long hobby/passion. I have the time and resources to basically make whatever I like whenever I like.
Over fifty years of professional and home cooking I feel I've gained a certain level of accomplishment.
I'm on this forum to share the 'Inner Tennis' of creating excellent results.
I get that many don't have the time/money/energy to devote to the subject as I do. I was there once too. No worries.
For instance:
Last night I gave a birthday dinner for one of our sons. Now thirty.
I made what the family called the best 'BB' I had ever made. I've been making 'BB' for them since they were babies and every time it's always "the best you've ever made!" LOL. (That's b/c I splurged and bought an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir for the reduction) Served with a celeriac puree made by slow simmering five peeled/cubed celeriacs and two large cubed potatoes and two large sweet onions, a pinch of grated nutmeg/S&P in 4 C of whole milk and 4 C of water. I put the peelings into a cloth bag and allowed their flavor to infuse into the milk.
Removed the bag. Sieved out all the ingredients>cooled them>into the food processor with lots of unsalted clarified butter>added some of the infused milk to get the 'mashed potato-like texture right> then through a sieve leaving a creamy puree. Into an oven proof dish to keep nice and hot.
Served with steamed new whole baby carrots. Half an inch of the carrot tops left on of course.
My long winded point is I take a lot of pride in my cooking.
I hope some of my advice wears off on some here.
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:38 PM   #19
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Pearl onions & asparagus tips would be a flavor boost.
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Old 05-05-2015, 04:09 PM   #20
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I use cream cheese to make it really creamy. I've also been known to use Swiss if I have some around. Velveeta is something I add also. We like to add browned hamburger and lemon pepper for a main dish. I love blue cheese so one time I added some to just my dish and didn't care for it much but you might like it.
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