Sometimes, you get home at 1:30 AM and you're just damn hungry. So you pull out a slice of havarti cheese from the fridge, and grab a log of Norcino salami, cured and covered in white mold. You slice yourself a bit, and nibble a corner of cheese, and think to yourself, "I want macaroni and cheese, but I don't have any to microwave and I don't have a box of blue stuff."
That, however, is somewhat of a diversion from the main focus here—field expedient mac and cheese, which is what happens when a hungry cook gets home from work and wants a dinner.
Mornay sauce is, traditionally, béchamel sauce with Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses added; In this instance, I've produced a slight variation on that, with Havarti, cheddar, and Parmesan, as well as a bit of parsley.
So, I started cooking. I boiled off my macaroni, and began to make my roux, snacking on my salami and drinking a beer all along. I took out a notepad—thinking of you, my faithful readers—and wrote down my recipe so I could share it here, and reproduce it in the future should I desire this cheesy goodness again some time.
Of course, after deciding to do this I discovered that the all-purpose flour in the house had been used up, so I substituted bread flour, knowing that they are roughly equal in thickening power when used as a base for roux (although the bread flour will thicken more, in this small of a quantity that increase in power would be negligible.)
The recipe ended up looking like this:
2 tsp (10 ml) canola/vegetable oil
2 tsp (10 ml) bread flour
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) milk, skim
1 pinch dried parsley
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch white pepper
2 slices deli sliced havarti cheese, about 1 ounce (28 g)
1 inch (2.5 cm) cut off a 4x4x1/2 inch (10x10x1.25 cm) cut of Kerrygold white cheddar
1/4-1/2 c (59-118 ml) of microplaned parmesan cheese, depending on taste
1 cup (237 ml) elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1. Heat a saucepan over high heat, and then add the oil. When oil is hot, add flour, and cook to a white roux (2-3 minutes, or until the roux starts to foam and bubble, but not color.
2. Add the milk quickly, and whisk well to combine, making sure to crush out any lumps that might form. Bring to a boil gently (making sure to stir to avoid the chance of scorching the sauce) and then reduce to a simmer. Add parsley, garlic powder, and white pepper. Hold at a simmer for 20 minutes or so, to cook out the starchy flavor of the flour.
4. When the sauce is correct, begin heating the macaroni, mixing with the water to loosen it up and prepare it for the addition of the mornay sauce.
5. Add the mornay, and heat over medium-high heat until bubbling. Be careful not to let the sauce break due to over-heating. When hot all the way through (stir well!) serve the macaroni and cheese, and devour
|It's what's for Dinner.|