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Old 05-01-2006, 01:53 PM   #11
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If you put harder cheeses directly into hot macaroni, the proteins can coagulate, and you end up with unpleasant rubbery bits or globs of stuff.

If you melt the butter and add the cold milk first to the hot macaroni, you cool it down enough so that the hard cheese can melt instead of coagulate. Also, I think Velveeta mixed with hard cheese helps you to avoid that problem.

I never use a roux to make mac and cheese.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:24 PM   #12
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good idea jenny.

so you think doing it my way without the roux i have to have some velveeta cheese in their to achieve the same consistency?

what are some other fantastic melting cheeses?

Isn't fontina a very good melting cheese?
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:43 PM   #13
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Big,

Not sure about the Velveeta. It is a processed cheese, which is why it melts differently. IMO it is too shiny and plastecine and has no real taste, so I don't use it (except every year or so in boxed kraft mac and cheese which comes with it) . But I know a lot of people swear by it.

Since I have always gone the bechemel route, I am not a good source of comparison about how chese would do in a non-bechemel macaroni and cheese. Fontina is a semi-soft cheese and is a popular choice for the dish -- I am sure it would work. Remember though, that some melting cheeses (eg mozarella) are hard to work with, as they tend to get stringy.

Personally, I like a bold, cheesy taste in my mac and cheese. One of may favorite cheeses to use is gruyere, which is a pretty hard nutty, flavorful cheese from Switzerland. A similar cheese from France is called Comte. I also love aged Gouda in mac and cheese. And nice cheddar. ANd/or a mix.

Though there are loads of softer cheeses with bold tastes, my personal pref for mac and cheese runs toward harder aged cheeses which are tricky to melt into creamy consistency. Perhaps I will try Sparrow's suggestion, regarding cooling the pasta down some. But then again, I have been making bechemel sauce for so many years that it's like second nature to me.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
I don't really know MLB, I was just tossing out an idea. I've done the Italian version but with risotto, never with pasta. As far as proportions, I use equal parts of whatever cheese I'm using. I would do the Italian version because it would be easier to find I think then the French cheese.

With the amount of liquid you're using in your original recipe, plus the residual liquid from the pasta, I'm guessing that you'll need between 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cheese. I would probably use:

1/3 c. Marscapone
1/3 c. Fontina
1/3 c. Montasio
1/3 c. Parmesano-Reggiano

Add more cheese if needed to achieve the consitency you want.

I don't think you really need seasonings other than salt and pepper to taste because you'll want the flavor of the cheese to be the star of the dish. Maybe chopped parsley or a dash of cayenne pepper would be all you'd want to add.
Okay im going to make this one. Im going to use 8 Oz of Medium Sea Shells. Do i have to do a roux?

If so shouldi use my normal roux 3 T flour 3 T Butter 2 cups warm milk then add cheese?

is there anyway you could change those dimensions to suit the amount of pasta im using? thanks man.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:48 PM   #15
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I bet you could do this without the roux.
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Old 05-01-2006, 03:00 PM   #16
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normal gruyere or smoked gruyere
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Old 05-01-2006, 03:20 PM   #17
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Whichever you like.

IMO taking a cheese which is nearly perfect on its own and smoking it seems silly. You might smoke a very mild unaged cheese (provolone) to enhance its taste ..... but you lose a lot of the cheese taste that way which is a mean thing to do to gruyere.

But if you like it, use it. Same with velveeta, etc.
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Old 05-01-2006, 05:30 PM   #18
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I learned through mjuch trial and error that most cheeses can be blended into a dairy base such as cream or milk. The trick to it is patience. That is, the liquid should be no more than 180 degrees or so. And the cheese should be freshly grated. Add the cheese a little at a time, taking care to stir it until it melts into the liquid so that they are completely belnded. And remember, the stronger the cheese, the less you have to use to flavor the mac and cheese.

Cheeses I prefer to use are gruyere, fontina, a strong swiss, five-year aged white cheddar, muenster, parmesano-regiano, and colby. I have made my own Velveeta-style cheese by combining swiss, cheddar, and jack cheese, with salt. Again, I used hot, but not boiling milk, and grated the cheese into the liquid while constantly stirring. I really enjoyed tailoring this cheese mixture for my mac and cheese, and for various cheese sauces. If you look on the Velveeta packaging, it lists whaat cheeses are blended to make the product. It is so soft because of the extra moisture from being blended with milk.

You can also use young cheeses like Mozarella that's kept in a water bath, or feta cheese. And cream cheeses are a nice addition. But the single most important factor in your mac and cheese is the flavor you like. You have to develop your own recipe. I like to add a little truffle oil to my mac and cheese. But then again, I almost think I'd add truffle oil to ice cream.

And smoky is a great flavor addition, as can be various peppers, or onion, or chicken broth, or, or, or... Try different things. Throw some pepperoni chunks into your mac & cheese, or some keilbassa. Try it with bits of cauliflower, or brocolli, or artichoke hearts. You just might surprise yourself with what you can create. I would think that a cheddar based mac and cheese would be phenominal with some slow-cooked beef roast slices mixed in, like a cheddar beef sandwich, but with pasta instead of bread.

I could go on with ideas, but it's time for me to go home.

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Old 05-01-2006, 06:41 PM   #19
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This isn't a cheese, but making the pasta and stirring in yogurt as the last step really makes them creamy. Especially with greek yogurt. I may just do that though because I have yogurt in the house far more frequently than cream.
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Old 05-11-2006, 03:48 PM   #20
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There's a TV chef in Britain called Delia Smith who has a recipe for the best macaroni cheese I've ever made. She has the recipe on her Web site at http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/

Search for macaroni in the search box and look for souffléed macaroni cheese in the list that appears. I don't bother with the onion, but I promise you this has to be macaroni cheese for the gods. It's a bit of effort but well worth it.
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