Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

Muenster Cheese

It is hard to think of a more satisfying comfort food than macaroni and cheese. The cheeses, other than Velveeta, may be finely chopped in the food processor if they are cold. The thin rind on the Muenster is edible and may be left on while chopped, though quite salty from its briny wash while aging. No additional salt is added to the cheese sauce as the cheese are already salty. Velveeta cheese has little flavor but it is a processes cheese that melts well and that helps make a creamy sauce.\


White Sauce
5 Tablespoons sweet butter
4 Tablespoons Italian style “00” flour or Wondra Flour
Pinch or 2 of sweet paprika
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of red pepper
1 Teaspoon sugar
3 Twelve-ounce cans evaporated milk as required (see text)

Macaroni
1 Pound uncooked elbow ribbed macaroni (Barilla)
Salt for cooking the macaroni (see text)

Cheese for Cheese Sauce
Yellow food coloring as required
4 Ounces finely chopped Muenster cheese3
6 Ounces finely chopped Tillamook Medium Cheddar1 cheese
6 Ounces finely chopped Hoffman super sharp cheddar2 cheese
3 Ounces Velveeta, chopped into small cubes by hand
8 Ounces Sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a shallow 9 by 13 baking pan.

Cook macaroni in 4 quarts of boiling lightly salted water. When just al dente, drain and rinse several times while gently stirring with cold water to arrest cooking. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Make sure all the cheeses are cold so they are easier to chop. Prepare cheeses and retain.

Melt butter in a heavy bottom pot over low heat allowing butter to foam. Add flour to the butter and cook on medium a bit but don’t brown. Whisk in 2 cans of the milk. Cook on medium low while whisking for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, Strain sauce if you have any lumps. Whisk in sugar, sweet paprika, onion powder, and white and red peppers to taste. Add chopped Velveeta cheese and slowly heat to melt stirring frequently. When the Velveeta cheese has completely melted, add the other cheeses and add additional evaporated milk as sauce thickens. Whisk in yellow food coloring a few drops at a time until the sauce has the desired shade of yellow. The sauce should be very thick. When cheese is completely melted, pour over cooked macaroni, add sour cream and mix well. Correct seasoning to taste. Turn out mixture into greased 9 x 13 baking pan and level the filling.

Bake, uncovered in center rack for 30 minutes.

Note:
1. Any large block premium medium cheddar that taste good (nominally these are expensive).
2. Substitute any premium good tasting extra sharp premium cheese - The flavor, after all, stems from the cheese.
3. This is not the French version of Muenster but the milder and less expensive Wisconsin, New York or Vermont versions.

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