Monday, October 17, 2011

Baked Mac and Cheese

Baked mac and cheese is something we have for dinner fairly often, it's quick, easy, filling and an ultimate comfort food. It's also a pretty cheap meal. You can add leftover ham, bacon or veggies to it and it makes enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of grated cheese (whatever kind you like, I usually use cheddar)
  • 1 bag of pasta (my bag is 500g)
  • about a quarter of a regular sized onion (or half of a small onion)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • a handful of crackers, whatever kind you like ( I stole some of Alice's Goldfish crackers), you can also use breadcrumbs 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon oil
Start by getting the pasta on to cook, the sauce part won't take very long at all and it's easier if everything is ready at the same time.  You want the pasta a bit firm because it's going into the oven covered in sauce and it will finish cooking in there.


Finely dice the garlic and onion and fry in the oil until golden. Just a minute on medium heat should do it.

Onion and garlic frying up
Pour in the milk and continue cooking on medium.  I go ahead and give it a generous salt and peppering at this point, not sure why. Most people would wait until the sauce was done but I would probably forget if I waited I guess.

Add zee malk
When the milk is hot and starting to bubble mix the flour with about a quarter cup of water and stir it really well. This is used to thicken the sauce and you don't want chunks of flour. Blech. I realize that most people prefer to mix flour right into butter to make a roux but I find this way easier. Plus I don't want to fry the onion and garlic in a separate pan, the less dishes the better.  I've tried adding the flour first but it sticks to the onions and makes them weird and clumpy.
Flour and water
Dump the flour mix into the hot milk and get stirring! You will need to whisk constantly because this stuff thickens up super fast! When it seems like it's as thick as it's going to get turn the burner off and add all but a handful of cheese.
Creamy cheese sauce
So at this point my camera battery dies and needs to be charged.

Pretend you see me stirring the sauce into the drained mostly cooked pasta, pouring it into a baking dish, crumbling some crackers over the top and sprinkling the last of the cheese on. Also pretend you see the dish going into the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

This was the aftermath of dinner when the battery was just charged enough to get a photo. It's supposed to be 6 servings but we were pretty hungry.

Mostly eated

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