Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kicked up mac and cheese

First, a word about Emeril. I'm not necessarily a big fan of his schtick. I don't make a point of watching his show but I have to say he has some damn good recipes (I've looked through a lot of them). I believe this is the first recipe of his I made and I was really happy with how it turned out. Although I didn't follow the recipe exactly.

I used a whole pound of elbow macaroni (whole wheat in a very small attempt to be healthy). I didn't use any anise seeds, didn't have any, and used red pepper flake instead of cayenne pepper. I also didn't make any essence of Emeril, though I did take some of those spices and toss them in where needed. As for the cheese I used some smoked cheddar and colby.

This wasn't my first time making mac and cheese from scratch and each time I have had issues with the roux, the butter and flour mixture that thickens the cheese sauce. Do I not let it cook up enough? Should I mix it more? Is my heat too high or too low? I'm not sure but it has never worked out like the recipe said it should. Please post a comment if you have any suggestions.

With the pork sausage I expected the finished dish to be a little greasy but it wasn't at all. I did let the cooked pork sausage drain for a good while, and there was actually very little fat left in the pan. When cooking the pepper and onions it began to stick a bit and I deglazed the pan with a little of New Belgium's Winter Ale.

In all I have to say this was probably the best mac and cheese recipe I've made. The others weren't nearly as creamy. I also like the pepper and onion addition, though if I were going to make it again I would probably add some more spices, in particular red pepper flakes. It had a little heat but not enough for my personal taste.


katie said...

that looks smack my lips fabulous!

kristen gozdecki said...

here's my thing about roux and mac and cheese: you don't need it. for a really, really good mac and cheese (and this is not diet friendly) start with heavy cream and add, a little at a time, stirring constantly, sharp cheddar or gruyere or even a smoky cheddar. that way, you wind up making this kick-ass cheese sauce and bypass the need for the roux altogether. it's labor intensive, but this method pays off with big taste.