I lov a good, gooy Mac n’ cheese. The warm pasta, the melted cheese, the crunch of breadcrumbs on top. It’s comfort food at its finest. Except when it doesn’t work right. Don’t get me wrong, even not great mac n’ cheese is good, but this batch wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
I’ve always made my Mac n’ cheese with a roux base. The toasted flour gives a great nuttiness to the dish, but while talking to Louise at our local cheese shop she mentioned they had recently switched to a cornstarch version. Apparently it gave a lighter texture to the Mac n’ cheese than the roux bad. So I scoured recipes on line and found a few different versions.
I didn’t pick a recipe to follow, but I did use one aspect of a few of the recipes to try – toss the shredded cheese in cornstarch before adding it to the milk. This should keep the cheese from becoming stringy. So … One pound of traditional elbow macaroni (Bob’s request), two cups milk, about three cups shredded cheese and some seasonings. Everything looked pretty perfect going into the final stage – baking. Lots of sauce, good flavor and cooked, but not over cooked pasta. I was so excited.
But … I needed more sauce. Or to not bake the macaroni. Something. The flavor was fine, but it was like the cheese disappeared. It just soaked into the pasta and the dish didn’t have the creamy oozy consistency you want from comfort food. I’m pretty sure I need to double the sauce – or add another cup of milk and another cup of cheese at the very least. I will go back to the traditional roux version, but will keep the cheese coated in cornstarch. I will probably skip the baking step next time too – I love the crunch the baking gives it, but I would prefer the creamy texture to the crunch.
All in all it was pretty good, and I know what to change for next time.