Mac and Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeese
August 14, 2010 3:18 PM   Subscribe

I could use some help altering/combining some baked mac and cheese recipes!

I happened to catch an episode of some Food Network show where I guess Bobby Flay manufactures food duels with people or something. I dunno. This particular episode was about mac and cheese, and it really made me want to make some. The two recipes we saw were Delilah's and Bobby's. I'd like to make enough to serve 6 adults and have some leftovers. There will be a light salad and probably some sort of grilled beef in addition to the MnC.

In general I like the look of Bobby's better, but I don't want to use pancetta or any other meat in the MnC. Do you think just eliminating it from the recipe would do any harm?

Also, I REALLY love blue cheese, and I'll be damned if I make MnC without any in it. If you were to incorporate a blue cheese into a dish like this, how would you do so?

I have access to a pretty massive sautee pan (I think it's 14" across), would that be large enough to make Bobby's sauce, do you think?

Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by kavasa to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Skipping the pancetta will still make a yummy mac and cheese. Bleu cheese is strong, so I would just add it judiciously, and just take out a bit of another cheese. Or maybe sprinkle it on top, so it browns? Hmmmm . . . . there may be some mac and cheese in my very near future.
posted by killy willy at 3:37 PM on August 14, 2010

Blue Cheese Heaven.
posted by matty at 3:42 PM on August 14, 2010

Re: Meat
-I hate the idea of a meal without meat, but I make food for people a lot, and sometimes those people are vegetarians. Which is really too bad. But I made a mac and cheese one time (I sort of combined a couple different recipes and did my own thing and it was a while ago, otherwise I'd put the recipe here) and put some nice, meaty mushrooms in it. Without the fatty, salty meat addition you might need to adjust the seasoning a bit, but it will be OK without the meat. If you want to substitute something, definitely go for mushrooms. It was really good.

Re: Cheese
-I don't like blue cheese, so I don't eat it often and don't cook with it ever, but it would probably be good crumbled over the top a few minutes before it's done baking.

Re: Pan
-If I read that correctly, it asks you to transfer everything (including pasta) into the pan? I would only attempt this in your sautee pan if you're absolutely certain there will be plenty of room. If it's close to the brim it will be almost impossible to stir without spilling, and dairy-based sauces are a bitch and a half to clean off a stove.

Happy mac-ing!
posted by phunniemee at 3:45 PM on August 14, 2010

Blue cheese doesn't lend itself to mac 'n' cheese, because it's not a melting cheese. If you can't live w/o it, crumble some on top before you serve it. You don't need any meat.

I'd skip the recipe with Velveeta, because it's not really cheese.

The size of your saute pan doesn't make a lot of difference, because you're not going to bake the combined mac and cheese in it. If you're concerned about the size, measure it's capacity by filling it with cups of water. Flay's recipe calls for 6 to 7 cups of milk. If your pan can hold that, you're fine.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:18 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

The one thing I always include (and it's in Flay's recipe) is cayenne pepper. Adds a perfect tang when used in the right amount (I don't think I'd use it with blue cheese though).
posted by yerfatma at 4:18 PM on August 14, 2010

This is my favorite Mac and cheese recipe ever. I always add milk or cream to it- about a cup- and a bit more cheddar/parm cheese than it calls for. I also used generic ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs. The only mac and cheese I have ever had that is just as creamy reheated!

Perhaps you could add blue cheese? I really think it is the sour cream and cottage cheese that make this so unique and creamy- sounds weird but you don't really taste it. I think it helps with the texture.
posted by MayNicholas at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2010

Judicious use of a smoked cheese can help substitute for pancetta/bacon in a mac & cheese menu. Not the same, but helps with the flavor.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:37 PM on August 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Second on using a nice smoked Gouda or cheddar. The way I learned was to make a white sauce, basically butter, milk, pepper & cornstarch. Once it starts to get thick, stir in the cheese. Once you've melted/incorporated the cheese, add in the cooked noodles and then bake @ 350F for about 25 minutes. Other things I like to do:

+ Use panko bread crumbs

+ Add in a tablespoon or so sharp mustard to the cheese sauce.
posted by gov_moonbeam at 12:21 AM on August 15, 2010

One thing I like to do is take the Welsh Rabbit approach and make the sauce with beer and milk. If the cheese could stand it, I'd use a nut brown ale.
posted by plinth at 3:50 AM on August 15, 2010

This is my favorite mac and cheese recipe. It KILLS when I serve it to new people.

I think it would be great with blue cheese substituted for the cream cheese, but I might leave out the monterey jack in favor of more cheddar. It would be well worth playing around with, maybe try cutting it by a third and making smaller experimental batches while you work out the exact cheese mixtures. Also, if I were using blue cheese, I'd skip the nutmeg, but I might consider a dash of cayenne in its place.
posted by padraigin at 7:04 PM on August 15, 2010

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