Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Classic n Comforting Macaroni-Cheese

Hi guys, this is one of my signature recipes. I have changed it a bit though from the original to incorporate some more mystery into it! A lot of Americans believe macaroni and cheese to be comfort food because it is warm, delicious and cheesy. The good thing about this is that you can use any kind of cheese, be it strong like brie or gruyere, or even mild like cheddar or mozzarella. I enjoyed making this every bit because I know it's popular whenever I make it.

This recipe is dedicated to my brother, who celebrates his sweet 16 tomorrow to be exact (7th November 2013), and who loves anything that is creamy and cheesy just like this!

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups elbow macaroni or penne pasta
3 cups water (for boiling)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

Sauce:
(This is my own recipe for a perfect bechamel sauce, which I have improved on by watching Chef Gordon Ramsay)
3-4 tbsp butter
2-3 cloves garlic, pounded
Pinch of roasted garlic
3-4 tbsp white flour
2-3 cups fresh milk (you can use low-fat if you want)
1/4 cup grated cheese (you can mix any type you like- I just used mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan to keep it simple)*
Salt to taste
Dash of black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of Italian herbs (oregano and basil are great, I also used thyme)

Topping:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
Italian herbs to sprinkle


METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius (450 degrees Fahrenheit or Gas Mark 7)
2. Boil pasta with oil, salt and water till it is al dente (tender enough to bite)
3. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a pan and add fresh garlic. Cook till garlic browns a little.
4. Add roasted garlic and take off heat. Keep aside.
5. Heat more butter and add white flour gradually. Mix melted butter and flour till it gets creamy.
6. Add milk slowly and keep stirring in order to prevent curdling. When it thickens, lower flame and pour in sauteed garlic.
7. Cook a bit more and add cheese. Wait till cheese melts. Add all seasonings and spices to taste.
8. Mix pasta into sauce properly.
9. Grease a baking pan or even small ramekins with butter. Pour in pasta and spread evenly.
10. Top generously with cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle olive oil and herbs before baking for 10-15 mins.


* Note: For those who are really strict vegetarians, please check that your cheese has non-animal or microbial rennet (enzymes). Mozzarella is generally vegetarian and a few brands are alright (e.g. Sargento's)

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