I love baked mac and cheese. I like to forget completely about lactose intolerance and how upset my stomach will be with me later and focus more on how nice and creamy the sauce is, how well the cheese will crisp up on the top to give it a little more something to bite into.
While some people prefer the soupy, outta the blue box macaroni, I have always had a deep and abiding hatred of orange cheeses. I don’t trust it. It’s just not normal. And I’m not the only one to wonder in the past: if milk is white, why is cheese yellow?
The only legit yellowy hue that should appear, in my opinion, is that of the cheese on top beginning to brown as the sauce bubbles up from the bottom.
I decided that since I have an borderline unhealthy love of this dish, and a new Kitchenaid pasta extruder, clearly I should make my own pasta for Mac and cheese. Right? Right. I spent the majority of my time focused on the pasta and main dish made from it, and so was left at odds about what to eat with is – I opted for the most lame side of all, plain corn. I could’ve easily just eaten the mac n’ cheese straight up, but I figured I should at least try to add a vegetable…
My boyfriend remarked that all I would need is to learn how to make cheese and I’d be all set. I began to mention all of the other key ingredients and it just spiraled from there. But, if I could just get myself some good locally made cheeses I would feel good enough about that, screw making it myself. I’ve got a full-time job to do…
So, one of the things that I learned while making this is that when you use fresh pasta, or when I used fresh pasta, and cooked it al dente, it seemed to crisp in a different way than I was accustomed to when using packaged pasta. It may be because I hardly had any quality control going to make sure that the pasta was at all similar to the next few that got squeezed out… Turns out, it’s harder to stir something on the stovetop and cut pasta than it is to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time…
I used this recipe, and used a combination of dubliner cheddar and fontina cheeses. The pasta recipe that I made was the light wheat option that came with my pasta extruder from Kitchenaid. I also added crispy bits of bacon in when I mixed in the cooked pasta. Mmm. Bacon!
Light Wheat Pasta
from kitchenaid manual
2 1/2 c. sifted whole wheat flour
1 c. sifted bread or unbleached flour
4 large eggs
6 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Place all ingredients in mixer bowl. Attach flat beater and turn to Speed 2. Mix 30 seconds.
2. Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead for 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes.
If too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time, and knead to make sure. If too wet, do the same with a tablespoon of flour.
This is a great use of leftover bits of cheeses, just grate them all up and mix them in.
We ate this for two dinners in a row. It tasted good with some hot sauce added to the top of it. It reheats quickly in the microwave, but its strongly suggested to break up a hunk of it in the bowl or plate so that it heats evenly.
I love making dinner for more than one night in one meal. It means I can kick back and relax and only worry about loading the dishwasher.